Heating costs usually take a big chuck out of household budgets each winter. But there are a few things you can to actually reduce heating costs without spending a dime:
Do windows: Keep window shades open and curtains pulled back during the day to take advantage of the sun’s energy. At night, keep shades tightly drawn to both insulate the glass and reduce drafts cause by convection, which occurs when warm heated air strikes the cold glass, chills and then falls on you as you are stretched out on the couch, causing an uncomfortable draft.
Set your thermostat: Yes, we know figuring out how to program your clock set-back thermostat sends you psychologically back to the days you spent staring at a blinking VCR. But do it! Programming your heat to go down when you are sleeping or not home, and back up only when you are active in the house can reduce heating costs by a whopping 10%.
Laundry later: Running your dryer not only dries your clothes, it also sends lots of excess heat into the house. To reduce heating costs, time your dryer cycles to supply heat only when you need it, like during the day when you first get home from work. Running the dryer when you go to bed is a waste since you are already tucked snugly beneath the covers.
Reverse spin: Ceiling fans’ reversible motors can spin indoor air into comfortable savings year-round, pushing warm air down in the winter and pulling cold air up in the summer. Add even more savings by installing an Energy Star-qualified model, which is up to 50 percent more energy efficient than a conventional fan.
Put out the fire: Even though the thought of a roaring fire conjures up scenes from a Norman Rockwell print, you’ll save some dough if you skip the fireplace as a source of home heating. Most fireplaces are a home heating vacuum cleaner that sucks expensive, heated air right up the chimney. Instead, use them selectively as you would any luxury expense – because that is exactly what they are to run.
Skip the budget plan: If your fuel supplier offers a so-called budget plan to reduce heating costs where the cost of heating is spread over a 12 month period of time, cancel and pay for only what you use. Unless your income is such that you can not take the least bit of fluctuation, it’s usually best to just pay for what you need.