Home heating costs are a necessary evil to stay safe and warm during the winter months. While spending money on heating is unavoidable, there are several strategies for cutting back on spending. Fortunately, many cost-saving ideas also have positive environmental impacts, as cutting back on home heating means cutting back on overall consumption.
Here are some practical, sustainable ways to save on home heating costs while positively impacting the environment.
Maintain Your HVAC System
There’s a common misconception that annual HVAC maintenance calls are a money grab. However, these visits pay for themselves over the lifespan of your home heating and cooling systems. If you don’t already schedule an annual tune-up, consider starting now. During an HVAC maintenance call, the technician will clean the inner workings of your furnace and vents, repair any minor wear and tear, and ensure your system is running as efficiently as possible. The better your heating system operates, the less likely you’ll have to book a full furnace repair service in an emergency. Maintaining your HVAC system will also keep your furnace from working too hard for minimal output. This means your furnace will use less energy than it would otherwise, further minimizing consumption and cutting back on your costs. Furthermore, the system will last longer, saving you money in replacement and keeping more materials from the landfill.
Use Thermal Curtains
Thermal curtains are an ingenious way to cut back on home heating costs while preventing the natural draws on your furnace. Consider these affordable materials one of the best ways to prevent heat loss while working with the elements. It’s expected that 25% to 30% of home heating and cooling efforts are lost through windows. That means at least a quarter of your annual home heating costs goes out the window— literally! Thermal curtains help minimize heat loss and help you use the sun as an eco-friendly advantage. Keep your thermal curtains closed during the night and open them during sunny days. You can also get thermal curtains that affix to doorways to help minimize heat loss even further. Hang these at the entrance to your mudroom or porch or any unused external doors.
Use Localized Climate Control
Rather than turning up the temperature in your entire home when you’ll be spending time in just one room, invest in localized climate control. Using an energy-efficient space heater or mini-split will ensure the room you’re using is warm without turning up the temperature in the entire house.
Program Your Thermostat
If you don’t have a programmable thermostat already, you’re overdue for an upgrade. These devices allow you to create schedules for your home heating, minimizing your consumption while everyone is away at school or work, or sleeping. Maintaining a consistent temperature does help minimize consumption. However, dropping the temperature by a couple of degrees when no one is home will positively affect your energy or fuel consumption and your home heating bill. Studies show that people sleep better in cooler temperatures, as our bodies naturally drop a few degrees as we rest. That means using a programmable thermostat is an eco-friendly way to save money, and it also provides positive health benefits.
Block Cold Spots
Find the cold spots in your home, then block them. In addition to your windows, cold spots could be caused by insufficient insulation or weather-stripping. DIY draft blocker kits are available for basement doors and older windows. They are easy to use to prevent cold drafts from entering your home. Similarly, if your house is on a concrete slab, it’s common to experience cold radiating from the floor. If that’s the case, well-placed area rugs can help and keep your home feeling cozy during the cold winter months.
Direct Your Heat
Finally, direct the heat in your home where you want it to go. Start by ensuring your ceiling fans run clockwise on low to create an updraft for better warm air circulation. Then, close the doors to rooms that aren’t used as often. Finally, move your furniture away from vents and registers to allow proper airflow; it’s not eco-friendly or economical to heat the back of your couch. These practical tips can help you go green — both in your bank account and consumption habits — while keeping your home warm and cozy.