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7 Tips for Shrinking Your Home Heating Bills

by BROOKE GOLD HASSON | Jan 14, 2015

7 Tips for Shrinking Your Home Heating BillsIf you live in Florida, you likely take steps each summer to shrink your cooling bills, but do you the same with heating costs during winter?

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, space heating is the largest energy expense in the average U.S. home, accounting for approximately 45% of energy bills.

We’ve rounded up seven top tips to help you shrink your home heating bills while staying warm this winter.

1. Inspect and Replace Air Filters Regularly

Have your air filters become infiltrated with dust, dirt and grime? Energy Star recommends inspecting air filters once a month and replacing them every three months, if not more frequently.

Why is this so important? As dust and dirt accumulate in the filter, the sediment slows down airflow, making it more difficult for the air filter to release warm or cool air, which ultimately wastes energy and money.

Replacing air filters on a regular basis prevents build-up, saving money on energy costs, as well as future HVAC maintenance costs. 

2. Run Your Ceiling Fan Year-Round

While Floridians typically use ceiling fans to keep cool, they can also be used to make the most out of heat energy.

To make your fan heat-friendly, set it to a low speed, spinning clockwise. This allows warm air stuck near the ceiling to ventilate throughout the room, reducing the need to turn up the heat on the thermostat.

By taking this simple step, you can save as much as 15 percent on your annual heating costs.

3. Use Exhaust Fans Less Often

There are several household activities homeowners do that generate heat, including cooking and taking a shower. Keep that heat circulating throughout your home by turning off kitchen and bath exhaust fans, or at least using them for less than five minutes at a time.

Also, consider installing high-efficiency exhaust fans for extra long-term savings.

4. Turn Down the Temperature

According to the Smart Thermostat Guide, lowering your thermostat by a single Fahrenheit degree during winter can shave roughly 1-3% off your heating bill.

Turning your thermostat down 10-15 degrees while at work or out of town can slash your annual heating bill by 5-15%.

Also, consider investing in a programmable thermostat. This will allow you to schedule when the heat turns on each day, ensuring that you are not wasting warmth on an empty house. 

5. Close Curtains at Night

Do you close your home’s curtains before crawling into bed at night?

While most homeowners close their curtains every evening for privacy and security purposes, practicing this simple routine also keeps warm air INSIDE and cold air OUTSIDE.

NOTE: Keep curtains open during the day to let the wonderful Florida sunshine heat up your home at no cost.

6. Roll Out a Rug

Do you live in a home with wood, tile or concrete flooring? If so, keep your feet and your humble abode warm by adding a rug to commonly used areas, like the living room and bedrooms.

Not only do rugs give your home a cozy appearance, they also help to retain heat, preventing it from leaking through flooring and foundation.

7. Replace Worn Weather-Stripping

When was the last time you replaced your weather-stripping? According to Popular Mechanics, as much as 7-12% of a home’s heating loss occurs around windows and doors. 

This warm air loss also causes your home’s heating system to work harder, wasting energy and money. Replacing worn weather-stripping is one of the cheapest, easiest and most effective ways to shrink your energy bill.

Inspect weather-stripping on windows and doors at least once a year to make sure it is in good condition. If it needs to be replaced, follow these six steps to easily install new weather-stripping:

Step 1: Peel existing weather-stripping off the door or window edge.

Step 2: Clean the edges of your window or door with soapy water. Let them dry     completely before proceeding to Step 3.

Step 3: Carefully measure the top and side edges and cut weather-stripping to size with a utility knife.

Step 4: Carefully peel the back off the cut piece of weather-stripping. 

Step 5: Press the new weather-stripping into place, along the edges of the window or door. Ensure the weather-stripping sticks by applying it when the temperature is 50-80 degrees outside.

Step 6: If you are weather-stripping a door, cut a door sweep to size, then screw it into place at the bottom of the frame.