A large portion of our energy consumption in the winter is from heating our homes. It is a good practice to conserve energy and save money where you can, but you don’t want to sacrifice comfort to save a few dollars. Here are a few ways to heat your home efficiently and lower your utility costs.
You can efficiently heat your home with a furnace, heat pump, natural gas, or wood-burning fireplace or stove. This guide from Energy.gov explains more about heating systems.
Adjust Your Thermostat to Heat Your Home Efficiently
You can save money on your heating bill by slightly adjusting your thermostat. The Department of Energy (DOE) recommends setting your thermostat to 68 degrees Fahrenheit while you’re home and turning it down a few degrees when you’re away and at night while you’re sleeping. Programmable thermostats will automate this process for you.
Use Heavy Curtains for Better Energy Efficiency
Heavy curtains block drafts around windows. If your windows get early morning sun, take advantage of passive solar heat by opening the curtains so the sunlight warms the house. Open the curtains in the mornings and close them at night to retain the heat. Heavy curtains are especially helpful for improving the energy efficiency of older single-paned windows.
Check Your Vents
If you have a furnace, check to see that all of your air vents are open and clean. Move your furniture a few inches away from vents to ensure that the warm air is not blocked and can circulate freely. Floor-length curtains sometimes block vents, so check those as well.
Heat Your Home Efficiently by Closing Unused Rooms
Don’t waste energy heating rooms that you do not use. If you use a fireplace or a wood stove for heat, close the doors to rooms that are not in use. The living areas will heat faster and stay warmer.
One of the main reasons a home loses heat is through drafts that let in cold air. Poorly sealed spaces around doors and windows allow heat to escape while letting cold air indoors. Install a draft blocker or place a rolled-up towel in front of a drafty door. Weatherstripping placed around windows and doors helps keep cold air outside. It should be checked periodically and replaced when it shows signs of wear.
Build a Fire
A crackling fire in the fireplace is a welcoming sight on a cold day. A fireplace is one of the most energy-efficient methods of home heating. Build a fire to stay warm without using your HVAC system and give your furnace a break every now and then.
When you bake a roast or run your clothes dryer, recycle that heat by opening the door and letting it warm the room. If the oven is in use, it is already helping to heat the kitchen and dining areas. When you’re finished cooking, leave the door open to make use of any leftover heat.
Upgrade Your Boiler or Furnace to Heat Your Home Efficiently
If your furnace is over 10 years old, upgrade it before cold weather arrives. Newer heating systems are more efficient and consume less energy than older models.