Winter is here, temperatures are reducing, and for many homeowners, heating bills are increasing too.
Keeping your home warm during this time is a priority but also challenging. At one side you want to keep your house comfortably warm using a space heater, and at the other end, you want to save energy and money.
Luckily, you can take some steps to minimize energy consumption and cut down on your monthly heating bills. The following tips might help keep your family warm throughout this winter without having to worry about your heating bills.
1. Insulate and Seal
If you have two spots in your house that have different temperatures (one hot spot and another cool area), then hot air will naturally move from the warm areas towards the cool areas.
Homeowners usually have an extra guest room, basement or large storage areas that are not used as frequently as other rooms. During winter, these cold, unused rooms can attract the heat from other areas, leaving them uncomfortable and extremely cold.
Since you can’t completely stop this type of airflow, you can slow it down by insulating or sealing off the cold room.
Creating a comfortably warm environment in the rooms that you often use in your house should be your priority, which is why you need to insulate and seal off those unused rooms completely. This will reduce the transfer of heat from hot places to cold rooms, which eventually reduces the temperature and amount of time you need to heat the whole house.
2. Take Advantage of Free Heat from the Sun
The sun is the primary source of light and heat for all living things, so use it.
Open your south-facing windows during the day to allow your home to absorb the free solar heat. This strategy works best if your home has concrete walls or floors. Concrete has a high thermal mass, meaning it can absorb and store heat than other building materials. So, it can act as a heat source during the cold season.
When the sun goes down, close your curtains to prevent heat loss. The heat absorbed during the day will be trapped, and you’ll not have to heat your house for long hours.
If you decide to use the heat from the sun to warm your home, you should also lower the thermostat setting. These two steps combined are what saves money and energy.
3. Lower the Thermostat Setting
“What is the best temperature to set my thermostat in the winter.”
This is one of the frequently asked questions by homeowners especially when the temperatures start dropping.
Every home has its temperature preferences, but the general recommendations for winter thermostat settings are 68 during the day and 55 at night or when you’re away from home.
By rolling back your thermostat about 10-15 percent for just 8 hours, you can be able to save up to 10 percent on your heating bill. On the other hand, if you lower your thermostat setting at night, you can save about 13 percent of your heating bill. So, either way, you get to save money if you choose a low thermostat setting.
Remember, you need to choose smart thermostats because they are more efficient, user-friendly and Wi-Fi enabled – you can control your home temperature remotely from your phone or other devices.
4. Set your Ceiling Fans to Run in a Clockwise Direction
Ceiling fans not only help you feel cool during the hot summer, but they also help keep you warm in winter by circulating the warm air that rises to the top of the room.
As you already know, warm air is less dense than cold air, so it always rises near the ceiling, leaving the cold air near the floor. Setting your fan to run in a clockwise direction will circulate the warm air across the room, making it feel warmer.
Turn on the fan and watch the blades to make sure they are running in the right direction. If they are spinning clockwise, they will circulate the warm air. However, if they are still running anti-clockwise, scrutinize it and make sure you have turned on the switch that reverses the direction of the blades.
5. Invest in Energy Efficient Space Heaters
Space heaters have become a convenient way of raising indoor home temperatures and adding warmth to any room. These heating equipment are available in a variety of shapes, sizes, and help offset utility costs during cold winter months.
Even though space heaters are an economical way of heating a room, it is not automatic that you’ll save energy by using them. The type of space heater you choose, size of space you want to heat, and the cost and amount of time each day you intend to run the heater are what determines whether you’ll save energy or not.
However, the general rule of thumb is to measure the size of your home and choose the right heater size for your room. You should also run the heater as prescribed by the manufacturer.
About The Author:
Shannon Faith is an Indoor Air Quality Specialist and Blogger. She runs her blog, QualityHomeAirCare.com, where she shares tips with homeowners who want to find indoor air quality appliances, control indoor air pollution and maintain a healthy indoor environment.