10 Ways to Lower Your Heating Bill this Winter
If you're looking for ways to reduce your home energy bills in the winter, you are just one of many people searching for some hacks to do the same. Although we have no control over gas and electricity costs, we do have control over the functionality of our homes and practices we can are take part in to reduce our hydro bills quite significantly over the winer. Here's a list of 10 things we as home owners can do to save a bit of money.
1. Preventative Maintenance
Like the old saying goes, sometimes we have to spend in order to save. This is true when it comes to preventative furnace maintenance. Maintenance typically ranges between $100 and $200 a visit, but statistics reveal that as much as 30% of energy can be wasted through preventative measures like leaking ducts, dirty furnace and clogged filters. Regular maintenance can spot these issue before they end up costing you on your energy bill.
2. Change the Filter
The easiest, most simple thing you can do to save is change your furnace filter. Dirty filters reduce airflow and make it much harder delivering warm air through your home. Your furnace has to work more to warm it up and this energy waste causes higher energy bills. Not only that, but because your furnace is working harder, it can reduce the lifespan significantly.
3. Programmable Thermostat
Another very simple way to save is by installing a digital programmable thermostat. Schedules can be set to reduce temps while you are away at work, and at night while you are sleeping. Reducing your temps by just a few degrees 10-12 hours every day can end up saving you big over the winter.
4. Proper Insulation
You can have the best functioning heating system on the market, the most energy efficient model available, however, if your home is not well insulated all that warm air can escape. Without proper insulation, you are wasting energy by not allowing the heated air to stay indoors. Effective insulation is a key investment in your home to reduce energy cost all year round.
5. Window and Door Escape
One of the biggest culprits of winter heat escape is caused by leaking windows and doors. Ensure that weatherstripping is properly installed and windows are caulked properly. Check for drafts around both to ensure they are properly sealed. Also, double-pane windows report that they can save up to 25% in energy, so another investment to consider for your home.
6. Appliance Ventilation
Having ceiling ventilation in the kitchen and bathroom are great for getting rid of fumes and humidity from our homes. However, in the winter it is recommended to turn off the ventilation fans as soon as the need for them is done. If the ventilation fans continue to run, they are continuing to pull heated air from your home - causing your furnace to run more to reheat the space. Turn off ceiling fans as soon as you are done with them.
We all know that humidity plays a factor during those hot summer days, but during the winter there is a real lack of humidity. By installing a humidifier you might feel a bit warmer without increasing your thermostat. Water holds heat, so try adding a humidifier if your home is feeling cold and dry during the winter months - it might save some money and reduce pesky static electricity.
8. Alternative Heating Methods
It might seem like a good idea to use space heaters because you are only heating the room you are in. However, it is the most ineffective way to heat a home. It is comparable to trying to heat you home with a stove, or a toaster - a very ineffective strategy. Not only are space heaters ineffective and costly, but they are a significant player in house fires every winter. Be carefully with space heaters, and use them as a temporary method of heating.
9. Natural Light
If your home has large windows in highly used living spaces, open those curtains and let mother nature take some of the load off your furnace. Sunlight does a great job of warming up our homes on crisp winter days. By taking advantage of the sun, your home can use natural light to warm it up - reducing the need for your furnace to work as much.
10. Hydro Equal Payment Plan
Manitoba Hydro Equal Payment Plan (EPP) allows you to pay your electricity and/or natural gas bills in equal monthly instalments. This might be a good way to balance your payments so that your winter charges are not so high. EPP runs for 12 months, beginning in September and balancing out in August. Monthly EPP instalment amount may be revised (as your actual usage accumulates) to better balance at the end of the EPP year. Monthly EPP instalments are for metered electricity and/or natural gas usage.
At 4 Seasons Heating, Cooling & Electrical we are experts at heating your home. Our skilled HVAC techs have the knowledge and expertise to spot energy savings in your heating strategy. For questions on maintenance, service or upgrades, call us at (204) 953-5700 and we can share some energy efficient solutions that are sure to reduce your home energy costs. Quite often, upgrading your furnace will pay for itself over its lifetime.