How to lower your heating bill: tips to save on heating costs
Did you know that the average heating bill over a New England winter ranges from $700 to $2500, depending on the form of heating? That’s like adding another month or two of extra rent! Find out how to help your wallet survive winters better.
Understanding and reducing your heating bill
The price of heating is related to 1) what fuel you use, 2) your desired home temperature, and 3) how much fuel it takes to achieve your desired home temperature. Let’s take a quick look at all three of these factors.
Type of heating. Most sources of heat rely on one of four types of fuel: natural gas, electricity, propane, and heating oil. The costs of each fuel depend on the economy and various government regulations, but in general, propane and heating oil have much higher costs per year than the other two forms of fuel. However, this can vary with the type of installation and changing utilities policies. Unfortunately, you have the least control over this, short of moving to a new apartment. However, there are still some ways to reduce your heating costs. For example, if your fuel bill is high and electricity is cheaper, you can reduce your global thermostat and instead use an electric space heater. The space heater will heat whichever room your are in instead of the entire apartment. This shifts the fuel type while also reducing the the total heating area for a win-win combination.
Home temperature range. Everyone has a different comfort range for home temperature. If you can lower the temperature, especially at night while sleeping or during the day when you are at work, you can significantly reduce your heating bill. Generally, a room temperature of 68F to 74F is the standard recommendation, although you can certainly leave unoccupied rooms at colder temperatures. Just make sure no sensitive electronics will be damaged by the temperature ranges you use. At lower temperatures, you can always wear more clothes or use a blanket to stay warm. Electric blankets are terrific money savers because they heat you instead of heating the whole room. Think about when and where you need heat. Smart thermostats can automatically lower and raise the heating during work hours and home hours, respectively.
A heat efficient home. A home is constantly losing heat, whether through drafty windows or poorly insulated walls. Even if you keep your apartment’s temperature at the same level, the amount of heating required to maintain that temperature can vary drastically depending on your home’s energy efficiency. Let’s run through the major culprits. Make sure your windows have thick insulating curtains and to draw them closed at night. For better insulation of drafty windows, you can also use removable plastic films sold at your home improvement store. The front door often has a gap with the frame, especially at the bottom of the door. This is another source of constant drafts and heat loss. You can block the gap with various tricks, but just laying a thick rolled up towel across the gap will help. Consider a wall hanging for any poorly insulated walls, or a rug for a poorly insulated floor. If you have a ceiling fan, you may want to turn it on to redistribute trapped warm air. You can reduce heating costs up to 15% with better internal air circulation.
More to come. These are some tips to help you understand and reduce home heating bills during winter. Having an energy efficient home is the smart thing to do, and we will explore this topic more in future articles. Subscribe to our mailing list in the left side bar to make sure you don’t miss out.