If you live in an area where winter temperatures regularly dip below freezing, you're probably all too familiar with those climbing heating bills that can really shake up your budget, not to mention your cozy vibes. Folks who use natural gas for heating often spend around $931, just from October through March. Yikes!
Here at WorkMoney, we’ve put together a list of small tweaks that can lead to significant savings. Follow along and find out how you can stay warm without your heating bill going through the roof.
1. Smart thermostats
Smart thermostats can help you save an average of 8% on your heating bill annually - around $50 depending on where you live.
Here’s how they save you money: smart thermostats turn off the heat and AC more often than regular thermostats. They use sensors or check the location of your phone to see if you’re home – if it’s an empty house, they switch off.
2. Adjust your water heater settings
Our trusty water heaters are one of the biggest electricity guzzlers in our homes. Usually, they’re set to heat water to a steamy 140°F. Keeping it that hot can sneak an extra $36 to $61 onto your bill each year.
So, how about turning that dial down to 120°F? You'll still have plenty of hot water for those soothing showers, and you'll see a nice drop in your energy bill. It’s an easy switch to make, and you can find the thermostat on a gas water heater near the bottom of the tank or behind a panel on electric water heaters.
3. Plug those air leaks
Air leaks let the heat out of your house and cost you extra money on your heating bill – you’re basically paying to heat the winter air around your home! But if you seal and insulate your home properly, you can save up to 15% on your heating costs.
And don't worry, this is an easy DIY project. Weatherstripping can be done with a bit of tape, caulk, tension strips, or foam. Caulking is a good place to start: simply aim the dispenser at a 45° angle and run a smooth line along those drafty window cracks.
4. Check your HVAC filters
HVAC filters stop unwanted particles and allergens from messing with your indoor air. But when they get clogged up with dirt or dust, they make your HVAC system work harder, which, you guessed it, hikes up your energy usage.
Try to swap out your HVAC filters every three months. If you have reusable filters, a quick clean with a vacuum, a soft cloth, and a little soapy water can clear out the build-up, keep your system running smoothly, and bring down your energy costs.
5. Think about using a space heater
Here's an interesting fact: around 42% of your home’s energy use goes toward space heating. Central HVAC systems that heat the entire house are the usual culprits. They lose up to 30% of their energy through ductwork, not to mention the waste when we heat rooms that aren't in use.
One trick to bring down your heating bill is to lower your central HVAC thermostat and use energy-efficient space heaters in the rooms you're occupying. You have a choice between convection heaters, which warm the air in the whole room, or radiant heaters, which heat a specific area in the room.
On average, running a 1,500W space heater costs about $0.20 per hour, while a central electric furnace sets you back $1.37 per hour. If you only run the space heater while you're in the room, you can see a nice dip in your electric bill.