Thursday, October 23, 2008

Heating up your home but not your bills

Whether home heating bills or energy conservation are your motivation, there are easy, inexpensive ways to watch your gas and electric usage this winter.

High-ticket items such as adding additional insulation, an energy-efficient furnance or new ductwork may not be in your budget this season, however, here are 10 simple ways you can reduce your energy output, curbing your heating costs.

  1. Clean or change furnace filters once a month or as needed. Invest in a permanent filter, which also reduces waste.
  2. Place a rolled bath towel or custom-made "snake" across the bottom of leaky doors and windows. You can use leftover fabric, old clothing, etc., and stuff.
  3. Clean warm-air registers, baseboard heaters and radiators routinely and make sure they are not blocked by furniture.
  4. Remember that heat rises. Make your ceiling fans work for you. Most have a switch to reverse the blades' direction, which can pull that warmer air back into your living space.
  5. Install a programmable thermostat, which can help you save an estimated $180 every year in energy costs, according to
  6. Caulk windows and seal air leaks where plumbing, ducting or electrical wiring penetrates through exterior walls, floors, ceilings and soffits over cabinets.
  7. During the winter, keep the blinds on south-facing windows open during the day to allow sunlight to enter your home. Close them at night to reduce the chill. (And keep your windows clean to maximize the light and heat.)
  8. Turn down your thermostat as low as comfortable. It's thought that for every degree you turn down the thermostat in the winter, you’ll save as much as 5 percent on your heating costs.
  9. Seal and insulate heating and cooling ducts in your attic, basement or crawl space. You could improve your heating system's efficiency by as much as 20 percent, according to
  10. Get your heating system inspected by a professional contractor before the winter, when demand increases. Maintaining your system will keep it operating efficiently and hold your costs down.

Sources for more information:

Find more green tips at Thrifty Green Thursdays.


Cathy said...

Thanks for these tips--it's suddenly cold here in CO, and we need to get on the ball with winterizing our house.

Rebecca said...

I need to do about half the things on that list to prepare for winter. It seems like I'm always living in very drafty houses, so every little effort makes a difference.

Thanks for joining us for Thrifty Green Thursday!

Green Bean said...

Great tips! We just started weather proofing this weekend and need a step by step like this. Thanks.