For many homeowners, the biggest bulk of heating costs come from the winter months. When it’s freezing cold outside, it’s only natural to want to crank up the heating and pray that your utility bills don’t shoot up as much. However, these prayers don’t often work, and you’re most likely left with a sky-high bill every time.
Luckily, there are many other ways you can stay warm in the winter without your heating bill costing an arm and a leg. Here are some of the best practices that you can start with:
Get a heater
If you don’t want to use your fireplace for whatever reason, you may want to start looking for wood heaters as an alternative. A wood heater is essentially a wood-burning stove that acts just like a fireplace. However, it is far more efficient than a fireplace, with an average efficiency of around 70% according to the Environmental Protection Agency, compared to the average fireplace efficiency of around 20% to 25%.
A wood heater is also more compact, which allows it to emit more heat into the home. Along with its smaller structure, this level of efficiency can also be attributed to its use of a ventilation pipe instead of a flue.
To maximize your savings, use a wood heater instead of cranking up the heat in your home during winter. Turn down the thermostat, start a crackling fire, and let the heat keep you warm during the day. After you put the fire out, the residual heat can still keep you comfortable while sleeping (and you don’t need that much heat while unconscious, anyway).
Program your thermostat
One of the main benefits of having a programmable thermostat is that you get to set the temperature to change automatically at certain points of the day. For example, when you are not at home, you can set a programmable thermostat to turn down the heat so that you’re not consuming unnecessary energy. Furthermore, you can set the thermostat to only turn up the heat at the coldest parts of the day so that your heating is more cost-effective.
Seal your doors and windows
Don’t let that precious heat escape from the gaps around your doors and windows! Before winter rolls in, seal the gaps with weather strips or gap fillers. You’ll save a substantial amount of money by making sure that your doors and windows are not drafty—and you can also ensure that you’re not getting unnecessary chills from the cold outside.
Let sunshine in
Take advantage of the heat from the sun, especially during the warmest parts of the day. Open up your curtains to let sunlight in, and then close them again when the sky starts to get dark. This tip is best done when you turn down the heat during the day and let the heat from the sun warm your house up.
Bundle up and drink hot beverages
A great way to save money on your utility bills during the winter is to turn your thermostat down by a few degrees, but this can leave you feeling a little chilly. To keep yourself comfortable, bundle up with warm blankets, scarves, and hoodies. Better yet, warm yourself internally by drinking hot beverages like cocoa, coffee, or tea. You may even want to keep a heat pack or a heating pad under your clothes to provide extra warmth for your body.
Insulate the garage
The garage may not need that much heating during the winter, but keep in mind that your car will not fare well if it’s too cold. That said, make it a point to insulate your garage—particularly the door and the ceilings—before winter comes. If your garage door is drafty, apply weather stripping and gap sealers to avoid cold air from coming inside (in some cases, though, you may have to install additional insulation on your garage door).
Keep the oven open
Winter is also the time for baking holiday cookies and preparing roast dinners. Take advantage of the residual heat from the oven by leaving the door open after cooking. Doing so can provide at least a little additional heat in the kitchen and the adjacent rooms, which leads to your furnace having to work less.
Winter is already an expensive season with all the holidays that it comes with. Avoid adding to your expenses by keeping your heating costs low. With these practices, you can help keep your house comfortably warm without having to blow up your utility bill in the process.