10 Hacks to Save on Heating Costs

A utility bill.

Trying to stay warm in the winter is not an easy task. Not only do you have to battle the cold weather and snow, but you also have to deal with an ever-increasing utility bill. Luckily, there are things you can do to reduce your monthly bill without breaking the bank. Here are 10 hacks to save on heating costs this winter.

1. Lower Water Temperature

The amount of power it takes to heat water can consume around a quarter of your home’s energy. You can cut down on this energy consumption by lowering the water heater temperature to around 120 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature is plenty hot for daily tasks and also puts less strain on your hot water heater over time.

2. Seal Windows

A man seals windows.

Windows are the main area where heat escapes during colder months. Seal exterior windows by adding weather stripping and re-caulking frames. If you want to add an extra layer of protection, fill a tall sock with uncooked rice and lay it between the glass and frame of the window. The sock will block air from flowing out, keeping it inside where it belongs.

3. Switch Ceiling Fans

Most ceiling fans actually have two different settings: one for summer and one for winter. When the weather is hot outside, the blades should turn counter-clockwise. This moves the cold air down. You want the opposite effect in winter. Flipping the switch on the side of the fan should make the blades run in the opposite direction.

4. Insulate Water Heater

Another way to make your water heater run more efficient is to give it a little insulation. A water heater jacket will help regulate the temperature of the water and help prevent heat from escaping. If you are unsure if your water heater will benefit from insulation, feel the outside of the unit. If the heater is warm, it does not need further insulation. If it is hot to the touch, then adding a jacket will save you money.

5. Open Curtains

An easy way to heat up the house is to open up any curtains or blinds on windows that face the south or west. The open window will let sunlight in, heating the surrounding space. Remember to cover the window when the sun goes down to keep the heat inside.

6. Open the Oven

An open oven door.

Winter is a great time to cook food in the oven. When the food is ready, however, avoid closing the oven to let it cool down. Instead, keep it open and allow all of the heat to spread throughout the kitchen.

7. Water Heat

When you are done taking a shower or bath, avoid draining the water right away. Instead, allow the water to cool to room temperature and then drain. The heat that is coming off of the water will warm up the bathroom and save you a little on heating.

8. Turn Off Exhaust Fans

Bathroom fans are great for removing odors, but they also suck out warm air. When showering, resist the temptation to turn on the exhaust fan and crack the bathroom door instead. This will allow all of the steam from the hot water to travel outside of the bathroom and heat up other areas of the house.

9. Seal Doors

A man seals a door.

Doors are another source of heat loss. You can prevent some of this loss by installing weather stripping around the door. Another option is to put a sweep on the bottom of the door, which can help seal some gaps.

10. Heat Zones

Using the zoning method is a great way to save on heating costs in the winter. Most people spend the majority of their time in certain areas of the house, which means you can save a lot of money by not heating the rooms you don't use. All you have to do is close the vents in rooms you do not need heated. Just do not let those unheated areas get too cold, especially if there are pipes located nearby.