How we slash our heating bills

One of the big recurring expenses in a household is heating.Today, I would like share a few tips that have helped us cut down our energy consumption considerably. Our average monthly heating bill is $35 for a household of 4 living in an energy efficient 2000 square foot home.    

We find the winter here is much more budget friendly than the summer. The average temperature in the winter is 40° F. There are around 70  nights per year with lows below the freezing point. I lived in New York for 6 years. The winter here is not bad compared with New York. But we still need to turn on our heater in 5 months every year as you can tell from the chart above. Here is what we do to lower our heating bills as much as possible without feeling uncomfortable.

Winter proof our house.  We purchased our home new in 2013. It has excellent insulation. However, we still make sure there are no leaky windows, doors and vents. I have caulked a few crevices and plugged few unused vents.  For example, we do not have a dryer.  Its’ venting pipe has been plugged with my son’s old clothes. The fire place damper is shut in the winter because an open chimney could suck a lot of heat out of our home.

Lower our thermostat.  Ours is set at 60 F° at night and 65° F during the day. The optimal room temperature for sleep is from 60- 67 based on some scientific research anyways. Using a programmable thermostat helps a lot when you can lower it while no one is in the house. You can set it so that it automatically turns up the heat before you come home. If you do not have one yet, you might consider this basic Orbit 83521. It has a large LCD and is very easy to read and install. 

Wear a sweater, socks and thermal Pants.  During the day, we wear a sweater, a jacket or thermal pants in the house. We feel very conformable at 65 F° throughout the day. When sleeping at night, we use an extra layer of blanket and sleep like babies. I find socks are vitally important because if your feet are cold, you are cold. 

Change Air Filters every three months.  We have a forced air system which means heat is pumped into each room through ducts and filters. Clogged filters and ducts will dramatically reduce the efficiency of our heater. Normally ducts do not get clogged easily because of the filters.  Filters, however, can be clogged up quickly if you live a dusty area. If you hold up your used filter to light and compare it with a brand new one, the difference is obvious. We always buy the cheapest air filters that can last for 3 months because we do not have any furry pets.

Heat the space we need. Before we had our children, we set our thermostat to 50 F° at night and turned on a space heater because only one bedroom needed to be heated. We also used it in their room when they were an infant.  Now they are big enough to use blankets just like we do. We still use it from time to time when kids take a shower or when I work late into the night in the winter.  Nevertheless, it is not economical to use a 1500 W heater like that in the each room if you have many rooms because electricity is much more expensive than natural gas. 

Set ceiling fans counter clock wise.   Some ceiling fans have a switch that can set directions. During the winter, due to the stack effect, hot air rises and escapes through small openings in your attics and open vents. This is not negligible because the more temperature difference between the inside and outside, the more suction power it generates. With ceiling fans turning counter clock wise, they push down your paid heated air, thus keep it in the house longer.

How do you reduce your heating bills?

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