Heating accounts for around 40-50% of the energy bills in some cases, depending on the area you live in, how big your place is, its insulation, the heating system you use, and on how economically and efficiently you use it.
And there are many ways to lower your heating bill this winter and every winter, some of these cost you nothing by being more conscious of your behavior and how you use the system, and some might require a small investment and can pay you back very quickly.
And I wrote this article to help you save as much money on heating as you can, with the least possible investment.
Without further ado, let’s begin!
Dress Thermal Clothing
One of the first things you can do in order to lower your heating bill in winter is to reduce the need for heating the space in the first place.
You can do that by dressing something that gives your body the feel of warmth, and you don’t need to wear multiple layers of wool in order to feel warm, but instead, you wear thermal cloths that prevent the cold air from interacting with your body.
And for the feet, you may wear thermal socks that are made of wool.
Keep Windows & Doors Closed
Having an open window or door and allowing the heat to escape to outside and allowing the cold air to creep in while having the heating systems on is more like trying to fill in a water tank from the top while having a hole in its bottom.
This will make your heating bill significantly increase while trying to maintain the place warm compared to what it should be in case that you closed all the windows and doors to the outside closed.
That’s why you should close the windows well, in addition to the doors that lead to the house, whether the main door, the back door, and the basement door.
Also, you may close the window shutters in the rooms that are not in use, and for all the windows at night when you won’t benefit from the natural light, as this will add another layer of insulation that can help prevent or minimize the heat transfer through the glass of the windows.
Fix Broken Sealing
Small holes around the window and door frames act just like partially open windows and doors and allow for the heat to escape to the outside, which then requires the heating system to work harder for a longer period of time, and thus, causing your heating bill to increase.
Or maybe, some windows don’t close completely due to a problem in the frame.
To reduce your heating bill in winter, try to inspect all windows to see if there’s any issue that allows the outside air to get in, fix any window that doesn’t close well, and fix the sealing with the right material wherever it is broken.
At the same time, inspect door frames to and fix them if they have any holes around them that allows the air to move between the inside and the outside.
And for all doors, you may install door sweeps under them if there’s a space that allows the cold air to creep in, whether from the outside to the inside through the main door or the backdoor, or between the different rooms and the corridors inside the house or apartment.
Close Fireplace Damper
If you are using the fireplace to heat the place, then it is a must to keep the damper open while it is working, but after you put it out, if you want to maintain the heat, then you better close the fireplace damper as the warm air will try to escape up through the chimney since it is lighter than cold air.
But make sure to remember to open the damper again when you want to put on the fireplace again in order to avoid any dangerous situation.
And if you have a fireplace, but you are using any other kind of heating like a heat pump (AC with heating mode), an electric space heater, central heating through radiators or underfloor heating, then you don’t need the fireplace damper to be open in the first place as these systems don’t emit CO2 that you need to let out through the damper.
Keep Rooms Separate
Some places inside home or apartment require more heating than others.
For example, during the day and evening hours, you need the living room to remain warm, and at night, you need bedrooms to stay warm.
And while you don’t want the corridors or the bathrooms to be chilly, but you also don’t need them to be as warm as the places you are going to stay most of the time.
That’s why you should try to keep the internal doors for the different rooms closed all the time in order to keep each room warm and comfortable using the least amount of energy, without the need to heat up every single inch in the house or apartment to the exact same degree.
Make it a habit to keep the doors of rooms closed, and if you or others at the same place keep forgetting a certain door open, like the kitchen or the bathroom door for example, you may consider installing an automatic door closer that would automatically close it after someone uses it.
And the same applies to the attic door as it represents an easy way for the hot air to escape since its lightweight makes it go upwards through natural draught.
And for doorways that don’t have a door, you may close the curtains if they were installed.
And if you don’t have curtains installed, then using PVC strip curtains can be a very cheap and easy way to create a barrier that would keep the heated area isolated while providing an easy passage at the same time without having to open and close doors.
Fix Insulation in Walls, Floor, & Attic
Broken or weak insulation allows the heat to transfer between the indoor space and the outdoor environment, between the different spaces that are separated by walls, and even between the different floors through the floor or the ceiling.
Check out and fix any broken or missing insulation by visually inspecting the insulation in the ceiling of the basement and the insulation in the attic.
And for the walls, you may notice that a certain wall is especially cold when you touch it, or maybe you notice that moisture accumulates on it during the cold weather.
Another way is to use a handheld infrared thermometer to inspect walls and see which ones have lower temperature during winter compared to others and fix their insulation to lower your heating bill.
Use Carpets to Retain Heat
Using carpets on the floors of corridors and in the rooms where you spend the most of your time can help retain the warmth and reduce the heating bill.
At the same time, it gives you a certain level of comfort and warms when walking, which minimizes the need to use the heating systems on full capacity.
Keep The Heating Temperature Down
Every degree by which you try to increase the room temperature accounts for more energy usage, which is paid through electricity, gas, or diesel bills, depending on what heating system you use.
It is estimated that each degree you lower your heating system’s setting could lead to around 3-5% reduction on the heating bill, depending on the type of the system you have, its efficiency, the insulation, and how extreme the weather conditions are.
For multiple degrees down, you may make serious saving on your heating bills with this method.
And it doesn’t mean that you have to suffer the cold atmosphere inside.
Actually, you may not notice any difference in warmth and comfort levels if you turn the heating thermostat a couple of degrees down.
To reduce the heating bill, try to experiment with different temperature settings, and see if you can keep the thermostat set on a lower temperature and see if you still feel comfortable and you would be surprised to find out that you wouldn’t feel a lot of a difference when you set the thermostat at 72 F (22 C), compared to 80 F (27 C), while the savings on the heating bill might be significant.
And for portable space heaters that usually come with multiple heating settings, you can save money by turning them on with the lowest settings, and see if you feel comfortable before you consider putting them on higher temperature settings.
Heat Only Spaces in Use
Heating the whole house or apartment when you only need to use one or two rooms at a time can waste a lot of energy and you can are better off heating only the place where you need to be.
If you are using split AC units or portable space heaters, you can simply turn off the units in spaces that no one is using.
And even for the place where you are, if you want to leave for thirty minutes or more, you can save money if you turn off the heating during this period, and try to keep the doors closed in order to maintain as much of the accumulated heat as possible.
For heating systems with zones, you can usually use the thermostat to turn on and off the different zones as per your needs, and for radiators, you may control the temperature of each room through controlling the rotating valve on each radiator in order to lower down the temperature in the rooms no one is using, or for rooms that are usually warmers than other places.
Smart Thermostats & Timers
Smart thermostats can help you lower your heating bill by controlling the different zones through a single point, and in addition to that, many of the smart thermostat allow you to schedule different heating modes and settings for different zones or for the whole place.
For example, you can set different temperature levels for different rooms, and you can set it to change the temperature for the same room based on the time of the day.
This means that you can program it to lower down the temperature during the day hours if no one is at home, and set it to turn it up just before anyone is expected to get back home, and then turn down the temperature down in the living room at midnight.
Or, you could turn down the temperature settings for bedrooms during the day and most of the evening time, and turn it up at the time you are used to going to bed.
And for systems without a central thermostat, like split AC units and portable space heaters, you may use the timer to turn them off if you are expecting to fall asleep while they are on instead of letting them work non-stop all night long.
Space Heaters When Economical
Space heaters can help you save money on the heating bill when used right.
For example, if you have a big house or apartment with a central heating system, but at a certain point in time you may only need to heat one room, and your system doesn’t allow for zoning, it might be more cost-efficient to use one space heater where you are.
Infrared space heaters are energy efficient and can be used in some cases as an effective alternative to central heating systems or big AC units.
If you have a big AC unit that you use for heating, and you are alone in the room, then a small space heater could be cheaper to run.
A 1-ton AC unit uses around 1 kw of power as it runs.
An IR space heater with the rating of 750W could save you on the electricity bill and keep you comfortable.
Or, if you are in a big room where the central heating system or the AC unit needs time to give warmth, and you are alone or with few people, then the IR heater or the oil space heater could be sufficient to keep you warm and save you money at the same time.
Regular Maintenance for Heating System Components
Heating systems need to be maintained properly in order to run efficiently and economically, as per their manufacturers’ recommendations.
Some of the maintenance activities take place on regular basis every few months such as cleaning the filters and air vents in ducted systems or with heat pumps, and checking the ducts for air leaks and the hot water pipes, radiators, and boiler for water leaks.
Also, the insulation on hot water pipes in heating systems with boilers and for the gas pipes for heat pumps should be inspected on regular basis and any broken insulation should be fixed.
Sometimes, if you notice that the heating system stopped working smoothly and efficiently as it should be, or if you hear an unusual noise in any part of the system like the ducts, pipes, or in the boiler room, then you may inspect the system for any possible damage and fix it.
Watch Out for Peak-Hour Rates
Some electricity and gas companies charge customers different rates on the same day based on the usage hours.
For example, many electricity companies have “peak hours” where the demand is high on the grid, and they charge higher rates on the energy you withdraw from the smart meter during these hours, and the normal rates during the rest of the day.
And the same could apply to some gas companies.
Try to find out which are the peak hours for the electric and gas companies that supply your home, and do your best to minimize your use of the heating system during these hours by turning the temperature as low and comfortable as possible in the places where you are.
And if you use heating systems that heat the air such as oil space heaters, AC units, or central heating systems, you may turn them on to heat the space you want to use during the hour before the peak hours start, and turn them off during the peak hours, while doing your best to maintain the warmth as much as possible by keeping the doors and windows closed.
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As you can see, there are many ways to lower your heating bill in winter and save money to spend it somewhere else.
The starting point should be minimizing the need to create heat by wearing something that keeps you warm, knowing where you want to run the heating and at what degree or level, maintaining and well-insulated space, and then by running the right system in the right way, in the right place and at the right time.
This is in addition to maintaining the heating systems in order to make them run efficiently all the time.
I hope that this article was helpful you in learning some of the ways to save money on heating costs during winter.
If you still have any question or need any help in anything mentioned here, please, tell me in the comments’ section below, and I will do my best to help you out 🙂