9 Tips for Saving Money on Heating Costs
With cold weather is approaching, it’s getting to the point when you need to start thinking about your heater. Of course, climate control is always a pain in the wallet, and now that the temperatures outside are slipping outside of the typical summer ranges, you can't just leave the windows open anymore.
But with a little know-how and effort, you can keep the power bill down, even in our chilly 50-degree nights.
Lower the Thermostat
Much like keeping the thermostat at 80 during the summer, you can save money in the winter by lowering the thermostat to about 68ºF. Lowering it even further, by about 2 or 3 degrees, at night when you sleep, or when you are absent will further help you save money.
Heat Strips and Heat Pumps
Most common AC units in Florida come with heat strips or coils that heat the air. These are good for handling certain situations during the winter, where it might be cooler than what’s comfortable. However, they aren’t very efficient, and the colder a snap gets, the better the system needs to be in order to cope.
If it gets cold enough, it may be necessary to invest in a heat pump, which is efficient enough to handle colder dips without running up the power bill.
Set Your Heating System to Auto
While setting the temperature, make sure you set the fan to “automatic,” instead of leaving on the “on” setting. Leaving your fan set to “on” all the time reduces the efficiency of the system.
Raise the Temperature Correctly
If you absolutely need to raise the temperature, and you have a heat pump, do it slowly. Raising the temperature too fast can trigger the heat strip within the unit, which can decrease efficiency dramatically and make things uncomfortable.
While Portable heaters are good for boosting the temperature in the room, they can be incredibly inefficient. Using it sparingly, when you need it most, is the best way to handle them, as running one constantly can cost about $100 a month.
Get Some Rugs or Carpeting
If a particular room just feels too cold, consider buying a rug or installing carpeting. Carpets and rugs are good heat insulators, which might be what a room needs to keep some of its heat inside.
Use the Warmth of the Sun
When the sun’s out, uncover your windows. The sun’s heat is the most efficient heat source, and windows are the best entries for said heat. When the sun’s not out, make sure you do the opposite, so as to prevent heat leaving your home from the windows.
Adjust Your Water Heater
Everyone has probably taken warm showers when it’s cold, which increases the workload for your water heater. Simply lowering the water heater temperature by increments of 10ºF can save you a lot. Furthermore, investing in water heater and pipe insulation will help keep the water warm as it travels, allowing you to get more out of your water heater.
Do Some Maintenance
Your heating and cooling systems will only work if they're well-maintained. Remember to clean or replace your air-filters. Make sure nothing is covering or blocking the vents. Have your system checked annually.
Check in and around your home for places you may be losing heat. Weather proofing can help keep heat in, so going around and caulking or weatherizing windows/doors will be a good investment of your time. If you see that there is damaged weather stripping, replace it. If you find the hang of a door allows for a heavy draft, consider getting a new door.
These sorts of things can slip our minds from time to time, but the benefits extend further than heating and cooling costs.