How to Win the Cold War-Saving Money on Home Heating Costs

homeinsulationThere are several ways to save money on your family’s heating bills this winter.  Some  require just a phone call, while others may take a little effort and a few minor purchases to your home.  For more information on other energy-efficient  ideas for your home, see our home page:    RemodelCostGuide.

When in Doubt…Ask – An energy audit will alert you to where your greatest heating losses occur.  The best part is that they are usually done free by most utility companies.  Why guess on what will save you money with the utility companies, let them provide the information for you!

Set It and Forget It – Get a programmable thermostat.  These thermostats program your home’s temperature to the needs of your family.  They can keep your house warm during the day time hours and let he temperature drop at night-time when a cooler environment is preferred for sleeping.  You can purchase programmable thermostats at any home center or hardware store.  A good will cost anywhere from $50-$100.   This investment will pay for itself within the first year, and if you have air-conditioning, it will save you money in the summer as too.

Do you feel a draft? – One of the least expensive ways to hold heat in is by limiting  its escape.  You can buy a plastic window insulator kit to do this.  3m makes a good product and the installation is quite easy,  just follow the instructions on the box.  Just remember, never put the tape on the window itself.  You have to create dead air space between the glass and plastic sheeting to make the buffer effect and keep the cold out!  These kits run around $8 to $25 depending on the size of your window.

Insulate – We all know that heat rises.  Therefore, most of your heat loss is through the attic of your home, so another way to save money is to make sure you have adequate insulation.  If you add enough insulation so that the combination of the old plus the new adds up to a depth of 12 inches, your house ceiling will have factor of 38.  This is more than enough for most homes in the US.  Don’t forget, when you insulate, you need to ventilate!  Costs vary depending on the type of insulation used (ie, cellulose vs spray foam) and the size of the attic.

Combatting Dryness – If you’ve ever been out west, you know that hot, dry air does not feel as warm as humid air.  Keeping the proper amount of humidity into you house will make you feel warmer at a lower temperature.  Dry air is bad for your skin, sinuses and your home, adding moisture will make you more comfortable as well as save you money.  If you want to make sure your house has enough moisture,  you can buy a humidity gauge for about $7 at most hardware stores.  If you don’t already have a humidifier on your furnace, you can have one installed or get a portable one that can be moved from room to room.  Many people have both and use the portable unit in the bedroom at night while sleeping.  Furnace types can run anywhere from $75-$300.  Portable units start as low as $29.

Share Your Ideas on Home Heating Costs – Tell us how you win the cold war at your house by sharing your comments below.  We’d love to hear your money-saving ideas for keeping your heating costs down.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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