It’s that time again — when falling snow and cooler temps make cozying up with family and friends into the most popular pastime across the Northeast. But as much as we love a good night in, this year it may cost you more than you think. The cost to heat our homes continues to rise, and with the risk of harsh winter conditions and storms damaging your home, it pays to be prepared.
We’re here to offer you some simple and effective tips to help you keep your home warm all season long without racking up a bone-chilling bill.
Invest in a Programmable Thermostat
Life gets busy. Between working, kids’ activities, family trips, and holiday shopping, you’re not always just sitting at home. And there’s no reason for you to have your thermostat cranked up when you’re not even there to enjoy it.
Instead, consider installing a programmable thermostat. According to the EIA’s Winter Fuels Outlook, it will cost $746 on average to heat homes with natural gas this winter, and around $1,268 for those who use electric heating. So any chance you have to minimize how hard and how often your system has to work, the better. Smart thermostats allow you to preset temperatures throughout the day, scheduling temps to lower when you’re not home, which saving up to 20% on the average heating bill.
Upgrade your Boiler
When temperatures drop, there’s nothing quite coming in from the cold and taking a long, hot shower. But your boiler has to work overtime with the excess hot water you use. If your boiler is over 10 years old, it may be time to look for a newer model. Newer models typically use less energy to produce heat and can save you money in the long run. If you aren’t ready for an overhaul of your current model, yearly maintenance services by a professional can keep it running smoothly when you need it most.
Check Your Windows
Did you know that leaks in your windows could be letting in cold drafts? It may not be as obvious as a blustery breeze, but even the smallest of gaps can be causing your system to be working harder than it has to. Sealing the inside of your windows can be the key to lowering your heating bill.
Dead air is a great insulator, so installing plastic film or weather stripping behind the interior window trim or wall can help trap cold air dead in its tracks. You can also invest in storm windows that can be removed after the winter is over. And don’t forget about your curtains! Use them as an extra layer of insulation by shutting them at night but remember to open them during the day. The sunlight is a great way to make use of some free heat.
Use Ceiling Fans
Ceiling fans aren’t only useful in the warmer months. During the warm seasons, ceiling fans evenly distribute and move cool air around the room. But by reversing the blade’s rotation (to a clockwise motion), it can actually push warm air down toward you in rooms with higher ceilings. This is because by switching the blade direction, the fan pushes air up which then forces it to move towards the walls and then back to the ground. It is such a simple way to take advantage of an appliance that doesn’t require a lot of energy to keep your home warm!
Install Door Draft Stoppers
Cold air can sneak into houses through any opening, including underneath your doorways. A quick way to combat this bill-buster is by buying — or making — a door draft stopper. Often called “door snakes,” these stoppers are a beanbag-like sack that can be put at the base of doors that lead to the outside. It closes off air passageways so that cold air doesn’t escape from the outside and into your house.
Add a New Rug
Rugs may just seem like a stylish way to upgrade the aesthetic of your space, but they’re also very effective in keeping your home warmer. Wooden, tile, or ceramic floors can account for a major percentage of heat loss in the winter, so adding this layer of insulation could make a big difference. New décor and a warmer room — win, win.
These easy tips will help you warm up while spending less this winter season. If your heating issues go beyond a simple fix, contact Madsen Inc to speak to one of our team about our affordable heating repairs and installations.