Energy efficiency is defined as the ability to achieve the same comfort levels without removing something in the process. If you want to know how to save money on home heating this year, there are a number of sneaky little tricks you can implement to make sure your money stretches further.
- Inspect your weatherstripping. More than 10% of your home’s heating loss occurs around your windows and doors. When your weatherstripping fails because it’s worn and torn with age, it’s going to let in cold air. Instead of turning your thermostat up to compensate, inspect that weatherstripping before winter comes along. If you replace worn out weatherstripping and fix failing caulking around doors and windows, you can save a ton of cash on your heating bills this year.
- Change the threshold of your door. Speaking of drafts and doors, if you can see daylight underneath your door, then that’s a place where cold air is going to come in. Instead of throwing a blanket next to the door or purchasing an expensive sweeper to block the air; look at the actual threshold contact. Most thresholds have 4-5 screws in place that will let you eliminate the gap you can see. Remember to turn the screws counterclockwise to close the gap.
- Invest in outlet gaskets. If you took the cover plate off of your power outlets, there’s a good chance you’d see a ton of open space back there. Foam outlet sealers can reduce drafts and heat loss in these open spaces and are safe to use all year long. Best of all, they’re very easy to install. Just take off the outlet cover, place the gasket over the outlet, and then replace the outlet cover. Remember that every outlet will likely need one of these.
We like this six-pack from Frost King because it’s made from fire-retardant plastic foam.
- Seal your exterior wall holes. Your venting systems that reach the outdoors are not usually sealed properly. It’s the one place where any homeowners don’t usually inspect for drafts, so after a few years, the caulk, tape, or foam eventually fails and peels or cracks off. This allows outside air to come in, along with a few crafty rodents, some mosquitoes, and other nasty stuff you don’t want to think about. Use expanding foam to seal these gaps. Don’t forget to pull back the escutcheon rings on your water pipes to check for gaps as well.
- Get that plastic film and cover your glass. By adding a layer of plastic film over your windows, you’re creating another layer of insulation to guard against heat and energy loss. You’re essentially creating a double-pane window when doing this. Look for transparent film that will apply easily with a hair dryer and just peel off when spring comes along and you don’t need it any more. The goal here is to make sure you don’t damage your trim.
We like this window weatherproofing film from Gila for fast results. Remember that indoor protection is different from outdoor protection, so choose the one that is best for you.
- Give your chimney a second look. A fireplace can be nice in the colder months, but it’s going to let cold air in when you’re not using it. Even the chimney flue won’t prevent all of the warm air from staying inside. If you install an inflatable chimney balloon, then you’ll be able to stop the warm air from escaping. What’s nice about this energy saving option is that if you use your fireplace and forget the balloon is there, it will simply deflate so you protect the environment of your home.
We like this model from Davic Draftstopper because it fits most fireplaces and is one of the easiest to install or remove.
- Give your attic door some insulation. This has become a fairly common method of saving money on your home heating costs, but there are still some older homes where the attic door hasn’t been insulated. Just take a square of insulation, affix the paper to the back side of the door, and you’ve got an easy fix. Because the insulation is affixed, it comes down when you pull down the attic door and won’t scatter everywhere. Attic covers are also a possibility if you have stairs access to your attic.
We are particularly fond of this option from Attic Tent, which has an insulating value of R3.2.
- Seal up your ductwork. Even the best duct tape is going to fail over time. If you haven’t checked the ducts in your home, especially up in the attic, for a few years, then you could be losing up to 30% of the air that is moving throughout your home. Cover the seams in a mastic sealant or metal tape to prevent these leaks from occurring. You’ll also want to look for holes in the ducts and cover them during this process as well.
- Give your HVAC system a tune-up. You’d give your car a tune-up after it’s been running for a while, right? An oil change, maybe a change of spark plugs – it creates a car that seems to work like brand new. Your furnace and HVAC system can benefit from an annual tune-up as well. Cleaning it out, and replacing any worn out parts can really help to save some cash in the long run because you’re making the system more efficient.
- Invest into a thermostat upgrade. Smart thermostats today have the ability to automatically tune the temperature of your home to whatever temperature you need it to be. Programmable thermostats are incredibly inexpensive these days, but if you’re looking for the very best option to save some cash, we highly recommend the Nest Learning Thermostat. With auto-scheduling, remote controls, energy histories, and auto-away, you’ll be able to be in full control of your energy usage.
Saving money while heating your home is more important than ever before with the rising costs of energy and real wages struggling to keep pace. These tricks can be implemented today, are highly affordable, and will eventually pay for themselves. Choose the options that work best for your home and get started!