Depending on where you live, heating your home could be one of your highest costs during the winter. If you live in the northern hemisphere where the weather tends to get extremely cold, it may feel impossible to have your thermostat below a certain temperature. However, this spikes your energy bill quite a bit, and it can be difficult to afford these comfortable temperatures during the winter. In this article, we’ll discuss several tips you can use to reduce your heating costs during the winter, preserving your wallet while still staying warm during the chilly weather.
Invest in Heated Blankets
Heated blankets are some of the most affordable ways to stay warm during those chilly winter nights. Heated blankets only cost around $20 for some of the cheaper ones, and they only cost a few cents every night to run on maximum heat. Having heated blankets in your bedroom is undoubtedly far more affordable than cranking your heat, especially if you’re only going to sleep. Heated blankets between your top sheet and duvet or quilt can make your bed significantly warmer, and if you aren’t leaving the bed, why heat the entire house overnight?
Dress for Cold Weather
This tip might seem obvious, but just because you’re inside the house doesn’t necessarily mean you should not dress for warmth. Instead, you should dress for comfort but also dress for cold weather. This includes thick socks, slippers, sweatpants, and sweatshirts. These garments help keep you warm regardless of weather and allow you to keep your thermostat at a more reasonable temperature. So, to avoid cranking up the heat (and your electric bill), layer up and break out those thick socks to save some coins this winter!
High-Quality Bedding and Throws Are Important
Investing in high-quality bedding, warm pillows, and throws to use around your house is incredibly important for staying warm without cranking your heat. Similar to electric blankets, having high-quality throw blankets on your couch or bed can help keep you warm, even when the rest of your house is cool. Wool, cotton fleece, or cashmere blankets are beneficial when it comes to staying warm on a couch or armchair. Additionally, wool, fleece, or flannel bedding will help keep out the chill at night.
Take Advantage of Sunlight
Taking advantage of the sunlight helps keep your house warm for free during the winter. While having a lot of large windows in your home may make you feel like there’s constantly a winter draft, it can also help redirect warm sunlight into your home. During the day when the sun is out, leave windows exposed to allow sunlight in. You can even rearrange furniture to sit directly in the sun, allowing you to heat up naturally while relaxing in your living room.
Replace Furnace Filters Regularly
Like with A/C or any other major appliance, a dirty furnace filter will cause your heating system to become clogged and make your furnace work harder than it needs to heat your house. By working harder, your energy bill will actually be significantly more than it would be with a clean filter. That being said, you should replace these filters at least once a month. Some new furnace filters can even trap allergens or pathogens to prevent them from getting into the air! You can save a lot of money on utilities by ensuring your equipment is always in tip-top shape!
Turn Down Your Thermostat
This tip is definitely an obvious one, but turn down your thermostat! While keeping your house at a warm 72 or 75 degrees might be tempting, this isn’t actually very efficient for your energy bill. Instead, keep your home around 60 to 65 degrees. But do this while implementing some of the other tips on this list, like warm blankets, clothing, slippers, etc. You can still stay warm while reducing the overall cost of heating your house! Also, when you leave the house, turning down the heat can actually help you save quite a bit of money, especially when you won’t even be home to feel it.
Spend Less Time at Home
Going off of the last tip, spending less time at home can also help you reduce your overall energy bill. For example, if you lower your thermostat when you leave the house, you will use less electricity or fuel since you are spending less time inside the house. When you come home, you can obviously turn the heat back up, but the longer you’re outside the house, the more money you’re going to save on heat. If you have studying to do, consider going to a warm library or coffee shop for a few hours. This way, you can concentrate on the tasks at hand and take advantage of some free warmth!
Adding insulation to your home will also help it retain heat better and lose less heat outside. On the Department of Energy website, you can plug your zip code into their insulation tool to find out how much insulation your home actually needs. Then, if you need to, you can add to your existing insulation. For example, you can add blow-in insulation to walls if they don’t have enough already or add fiberglass insulation to attics, among other solutions.
Clear All Vents
Doing a significant cleaning and clearing out of your vents can make a massive difference in the efficiency and cost of heating your home. Vents and ducts get dirty quickly due to dust and debris that moves through the air in your home, so cleaning them is an absolute necessity. Also, if you have furniture, curtains, or other items that sit right in front of your vents, it makes it more difficult for heat to move through them and circulate throughout your house. Therefore, moving furniture around and ensuring vents are clear helps to heat your home faster and more efficiently.
Get Your Furnace Serviced
Getting a furnace tune-up is probably in order if you’ve had your furnace for many years. Ideally, it would be best to get a tune-up once yearly for your furnace to be in good working order and perform peak heating performance. The tune-up is a small expense, but it can provide you with considerable savings down the road and prevent your furnace from running into major problems. Technicians will also check burners and vents to be sure they are performing correctly.
Negotiate With Your Energy Provider
Many people don’t know this, but you can sometimes negotiate your energy costs with your provider; people do it all the time! There are likely multiple energy companies in your area, so shop around and compare prices before returning to your provider to start negotiating. Who knows? Your knowledge of other companies and competitors could save you hundreds if you know how to negotiate properly.
Don’t Spend A Fortune Heating Your Home
It’s essential to stay warm during the winter, but keeping your pockets (and wallet) lined is also important! Don’t spend a fortune trying to keep your house warm this winter; instead, use one or all of the tips above to stay warm while maintaining those low energy costs. Sometimes, being away from home can have its perks, and keeping the house cheap and cool is undoubtedly one of them. So stay warm and stay within your budget!