We’re now used to hearing the word “inflation” on a regular basis. It seems to be at the forefront of everyone’s mind these days. There seems to be nothing that is immune to the rising costs associated with our current economic climate and heating costs are certainly no exception. Home heating bills are expected to increase significantly this winter, due to a combination of higher fuel costs and a predicted colder winter. The Department of Energy has estimated that those using natural gas could see a 28% increase in their heating bills, while those using heating oil could see a 27% increase, and those using electric heat could see a 10% increase.
With higher heating costs predicted, now is a great time to make sure that your home is ready for the colder months ahead. Check out the following tips to maximize your home’s energy efficiency and your cost savings throughout the coming winter.
Give Your Furnace a Tune-Up
Spending a little money now to have your furnace serviced by a professional could save you from costly repairs (or days without heat) down the line. It will also ensure that your furnace is running as efficiently as possible, saving you money on your monthly heating bills. You might also consider having your ductwork cleaned and inspected for any leaks.
Check for Air Leaks
Check for, and seal, any leaks you find around doors, windows, or other openings. Make sure the weather stripping around your doors and windows is in good condition too. Those materials can shrink in colder weather, allowing for gaps or leaks. You can pay a professional to seal any cracks around your doors and windows, or easily do it yourself in a weekend.
Invest in a Smart Thermostat
With a smart thermostat you can control the temps in your home remotely, allowing you to keep your home cooler during the day while you’re at work, and warming it up just before you come home at the end of the day. If you don’t want to upgrade your thermostat, consider dropping the set temperature of yours down by a degree or two. You likely won’t notice much of a difference, but that difference could save you money on your heating bills.
Close Your Fireplace
If you have an actual fireplace that’s connected to a chimney, make sure you remember to close the flue and damper when you’re not using it. In addition to keeping hot air in and cold air out, it will prevent pests from using your chimney as a route into your home.
Don’t Block Air Flow
Make sure you are not covering your vents or registers with furniture or other items. This will ensure that airflow is not interrupted and your heat can spread throughout the room. You should also periodically check to make sure that vents or radiators are cleaned and free of debris that could obstruct air flow.
Check Out Energy Programs in Your Area
Some municipalities, private organizations, or local government programs may offer incentives to those looking to upgrade their home’s components for energy efficiency. Focus on Energy is a great place to start researching current programs, rebates, and other bonuses.