Heating and cooling account for 48 percent of the energy use in the average U.S. home and is the largest energy expense, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. In addition, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reports an average cost of $679 to heat homes with natural gas, $909 for electrical heat and $2,046 for those using heating oil. Regardless of what method you use, heating a home is an expensive endeavor. However, there are quick ways to trim your bills with some simple fixes around your home.
Rearrange Your Furniture
Your perfectly staged home may be the culprit for wasted heat. Move furniture and shelving away from radiators and vents to allow the heat to move freely. This doesn’t just apply for couches and chairs, either. Don’t forget about the bedrooms where large dressers and beds can block much needed heat. This technique takes minutes and costs nothing to accomplish.
Close the Gaps
Close the damper in your chimney when not in use and look for gaps in the mortar of the brick or stone on the outside of your house. Call in a chimney sweep to address any lingering soot in the stack that may be holding in moisture and damp air. Check for gaps around your front door, and add caulk or a door sweep to keep cold air from getting in and precious heat out.
Old and new windows can be heat wasters in most homes. First, seal any open spaces between your windowpane and the frames with caulk. Next, use dead air as an insulator inside your windows. All you need to do is install a clear plastic film with double-sided tape over the inside of your windows. Grab a hair dryer and heat up the plastic to make it shrink down and look less noticeable, suggests This Old House.
Use Thick Curtains
Trade in your thin curtains for something thicker to work as another layer of insulation. In a pinch, adding a shower lining beneath a set of heavy drapes can help keep the heat in your home. For more window dressing options, pick up insulating blinds or shades to serve the purpose of double-pane windows or inserts.
Close Off Unused Rooms
Don’t waste your money heating up a barely used guest room. Draw the curtains, close off the vents or radiator and add a rolled-up blanket or door sweep to keep the cold air isolated to that room. Then, when it’s ready to be used, open it up for a few to let the air flow again. This way, you won’t be spending money heating rooms you don’t use.
Hardwood floors can give your home a charming, cozy look, but they also can account for up to 10 percent of heat loss if they’re not insulated, according to the National Energy Foundation (NEF). To help with this problem, cover bare floors with rugs or carpets to help hold in the heat and add some warmth to your home. Also, consider slipping on some heavy socks, slippers or boots to help warm up your feet so that you don’t need as much external heat.
Change Your Furnace Filters
Dirty furnace filters could be making your home work harder to stay heated. Change your filters monthly or whenever they look dirty to clear out any potential heating blocks. This will help your energy bills and also extend the life of your furnace by allowing it to run efficiently.