How to Save on Heating Costs Without Breaking the Bank

January 13, 2021

The reduction of heating costs serves two important purposes: it helps protect the environment and adds money to your bank account. While common advice usually centers on making expensive home improvements or turning down the temperature inside, these methods don't work for everyone. If you want to save money on heating bills without breaking the bank, use the following tips instead.

Add the Right Kind of Curtains

Quilted curtains make the warmest window coverings during the cold season. You can get them inexpensively in many different sizes and colors, and they install easily on existing rods. If you have a stringent budget and can't afford them on every window, place quilted coverings on the draftiest panes first.

Use Space Heaters Efficiently

The Department of Energy states that each degree you lower the thermostat translates to one percent energy savings. However, that means you'll have to wear more clothes inside, and many health conditions act up in cooler conditions. Additionally, utility costs often increase every year, so you won't make much headway.

When used correctly, space heaters can help save energy while keeping living spaces comfortable. However, you will have to lower the thermostat by at least five degrees to save money when utilizing portable warming units. All electric heaters use approximately the same amount of energy. However, remember to only place them in the living spaces where people gather. This strategy works best in homes that have walled rooms rather than open layouts, and it requires turning down the heat on all floors.

Add Doors and Dampers to the Fireplace and Chimney

A wood-burning fireplace makes a good heat source for a room, but it can allow warmth to escape when not in use. When you have an older model that circulates room air, add a door with functional vents. Keep these openings closed when not in use. Any units that utilize outside air benefit from doors with gaskets to seal off airflow.

For extra savings, install chimney-top dampers. Larger retailers often sell doors and dampers that cost less than a monthly utility bill. You can save even more money by buying them used via online marketplaces and garage sales.

Install Storm Windows

While replacement windows can increase comfort and lower energy bills by a few hundred dollars a year, each new unit usually costs at least $1,000 when professionally installed. This price does not include the framing. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, it can take 20 to 70 years for new windows to pay for themselves.

That's great when you can afford this project, but it's usually not the best option for the average consumer. For a fraction of this price, storm windows make a short-term solution to protect from heat loss. They reduce airflow, increase the warmth of the main window, and even decrease noise. Each pane installs in about an hour.

Seal Leaks with Silicone Caulk

Attics and basements have some of the biggest energy-wasting gaps. While proper insulation is important, you can easily increase energy efficiency by sealing air leaks with silicone caulk in both areas at a fraction of the cost. Pay special attention to the gaps around cables that come through the exterior walls. While you have the sealant ready, close even tiny openings around any ducts, windows and doors.

Whether you own a home or live in an apartment, saving energy is important. These tips can work for both scenarios, and it's best to use as many of them as possible.

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