There are some simple ways to save money on your home heating costs this winter. As costs to heat your home increase in cold winter weather there are some simple ways to keep more of those dollars in your pocket, rather than going up the proverbial chimney. If your home has a central heat/ac unit as many homes do, there are some easy, inexpensive, money saving things you can do.
Simple Maintenance can save you dollars
Change your air filters on your inside unit. A dirty filter blocks air flow and makes your system work much harder than it needs to. Filters should be changed at least every 3 months. Some locations monthly depending on how much dust is in your area you live. It takes only a few minutes, and only costs a few dollars to replace. Not only will you get increased air flow through the system, you will be breathing much cleaner air, lessening the chances of air-borne germs.
Keep the area around your furnace clean. If located in a basement or closet, vacuum the area around your furnace and the furnace itself. Don't store any items near or around your furnace. They can be a fire hazard and restrict air flow. Clean the room registers also. Simply wipe down with a damp cloth, checking for any obstructions in the vent. By properly maintaining your system you can save 10-25% on heating and cooling cost, according to energy.gov.
Install a Programmable Thermostat
Programmable Thermostats can be bought at most Home Centers for around 50 dollars or less. It allows you to set your temperature at different levels for different times of the day or week when you don't need the heat. Most DIY's can change it themselves or your HVAC man for the price of a service call. It is money well spent. Program it to 65 degrees when you’re sleeping, (you will sleep better) or when no one is home, like when everyone is working or at school.
If like most people you have an established schedule when you’re away, the savings can be substantial. It can be set to come on an hour before you get home or wake up, warming the home back to desired temperature. By turning your thermostat back 10° to 15° for 8 hours, you can save 5% to 15% a year on your heating bill or 1% for every degree you lower your thermostat for 8 hours from energy.gov.
Close or partially close vents in unused rooms
Close the door also if not in use. Bedrooms and laundry rooms don't need to be heated if no one is using them. Your thermostat should be located in a central part of your home, usually in a hall off the main living areas. By closing doors the thermostat will not pick up the cooler air from unused rooms and will maintain temps in the rooms you do use most, more efficiently.
These simple things will reduce your overall heating costs this winter, enough that it could pay the costs of installing that new thermostat, and filter, even if you pay to have it done. Next year all those savings can go in your pocket rather than up the chimney.