Along with falling leaves, pumpkin patches and apple cider comes the cooler weather (at least here in the NW). This means furnaces will be firing up and gas or electric bills rising. In an effort to keep our home cozy and not bust the budget here are a seven simple adjustments you can make this year.
Lower the Temp
This may seem like a duh statement but lowering your thermostat just 1 Degree for 8 hours per day can save 1% per year on your heating bill. You could do this during the night when you’re under the covers anyways or during the day while no one is home. Think of the savings if you can lower the temperature in your home by 1 degree permanently. That’s a 3% savings per year.
Seal the Leaks
Faulty windows and window/door stripping adds 10-20% to annual heating bills. In addition to sealing the big leaks there is a hidden heat thief. Electrical outlets on exterior walls can leak heat. If you have young kids I’m sure you are familiar with safety plug covers and now they have another use, keeping the heat in.
Create A “Warm Room”
Space Heaters have gotten an unfounded bad rap for being costly to run, and they can be if they are your main source of heat. However, if you spend all of your time in one or two rooms you can save dramatically by making them your “warm rooms” with space heaters. Turn down the thermostat for the house, close the doors to your warm room and turn on the space heater. Check out the cost difference provided by Seattle City Lights.
1500w space heater cost $.11 per hour to run
20000w electric furnace costs $1.40 per hour to run
Using the Fireplace Isn’t Helping
Heating your home with an open fireplace offers ambiance at a steep cost. 90% of the heat generated in an open fireplace goes straight out the chimney in a puff of smoke. Adding the steep cost, the draft created by the chimney will suck all the heat out of an average size home in about 20 minutes. (Source: Seattle City Lights)
Our homes may not be equipped with solar panels (yet) but you can achieve some of the same benefits with your windows. On sunny days be sure to keep the drapes open and allow the sun to help heat your home. Be sure to close your drapes once it begins to get dark and cool off outside. This will trap the heat in and help to block any unsealed drafts.
Just as we avoid oven cooking in the summer because it heats the house, use it in the winter. After making dinner or baking a batch of cookies prop the door open and let the heat escape into the kitchen. It can help heat things up a bit and take a nip off.
Turn off the fans
Use kitchen and bathroom vents sparingly. Vents are meant to exhaust moisture and heated air to the outside, but can also suck out the warm air you’re trying to keep in.