Tips for Holding Down Your Winter Heating Bills

November 15, 2021
energy efficiency
Home improvements
lifestyle changes
money saving

Many of us will be facing the prospect of higher energy bills this winter. Use the following tipsnto reduce your costs:

  • Insulate, starting with your attic. Heat rises, so repairing or adding insulation at the top of your house can have the biggest impact. A simple visual inspection can identify where else insulation is needed. Relatively inexpensive thermal camera attachments for your smartphone can aid the process, but look out for light escaping between external doors and their frames or drafts from windows, electrical outlets and air conditioning units. While many people opt to pay a professional to install insulation, it is possible to do this yourself. You can install plastic window film to reduce heat loss around windows or use removable caulk to seal window gaps. For a more in-depth assessment, conduct a professional energy audit. This can cost as much as $500 but some utilities will cover the cost.
  • Turn down your thermostat when sleeping or away from your home. The US Energy Department estimates that you can reduce your annual heating costs by 10% if you lower your thermostat by 7 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit from its normal setting for eight hours a day.
  • Make the most of your heating. Make sure that vents aren’t being blocked by furniture and consider installing foil ‘reflectors’ behind radiators to direct heat away from walls and back into rooms.
  • Have your heating system inspected before cold weather arrives. While heating systems typically last for 12 to 20 years, you should be proactive in upgrading them as this is likely to cost significantly more if it has to be done as an emergency during winter. Upgrading your heating system can reduce your bills by up to 20% and lead to more favourable mortgage terms. Tax credits may be available to help pay for an upgrade, while the cost can often be consolidated within an ‘energy efficient mortgage’.
  • If all else fails, stay warm by wearing an extra layer of clothing and slippers, using a blanket and consuming warm drinks. Your body will quickly adapt to lower temperatures.