- 5 Winter Heating Tips for the Cheapest Ways to Heat a Home
5 Winter Heating Tips for the Cheapest Ways to Heat a Home
When it comes to winter heating tips, everybody who’s responsible for paying that pesky heating bill is always looking for the most cost-efficient way to heat a home.
That’s because, for people who live in a cold-weather climate, your heating bill can easily double your summertime A/C bill. And that can get annoying year after year, especially when you’re trying to save money for holiday gifts and start the new year with a savings plan and maybe even a travel fund.
Luckily for you, we dove deep to find the five most efficient and cost-effective ways to save on a heating bill. And it’s just a bonus that two out of the five can be completed for less than $150 and one can be done for free!
1. Invest in a Smart Thermostat
If you’re using an outdated thermostat and wondering why your heating bill constantly exceeds your expectations — not in a good way — it’s because they’re far less efficient (and practical) than the modern smart programmable thermostats on the market these days.
Energy Star, a program founded as a collaborative effort between the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy, found that simply upgrading to a programmable thermostat can save the average household $180 per year, making it the best way to heat your house.
Considering you can buy a programmable smart thermostat from $100 to $200, that sounds like a steal. That’s why we call this an investment. Because you’ll recuperate your initial investment in a single calendar year. Don’t we wish every home improvement worked by these same calculations?
But simply installing a programmable smart thermostat and keeping to your old habits won’t be the most efficient house heating method out there. You’re going to have to work a little harder to increase those savings past $180 per year.
If you’re like the average American, you’re probably away from home working at least nine hours a day. By programming your thermostat to decrease 7 to 10 degrees for eight hours each day can knock off another 10 percent per year on your heating bill. Now we’re talking!
We’re guessing you also sleep for six to eight hours each night as well. That is, unless you’re a robot. If you buy a nice comforter or quilt to keep you warm and drop the thermostat another four to five degrees each night, there’s another 5-percent savings on your heating bill.
But if you suddenly get cold, don’t crank up your heater by 15 degrees at a time and expect your home to suddenly heat up. Your heater doesn’t work that quickly. It’ll have to work double-time to get to that temperature, which will negate a decent amount of the savings you’ve so hard to achieve.
Simply buying a programmable smart thermostat and following these guidelines can save you up to 15 percent on your yearly heating bill — plus another $180 on your electric bill! Sign me up!
2. Utilize the Sun’s Natural Heat
It’s been proven that south-facing homes get the most natural sunlight each day, and those people can harness that natural energy and use it for their benefit. But just because your home faces another direction doesn’t mean you can’t capture and utilize the sun’s natural heat.
By leaving south-facing windows open throughout the day, it allows the sun to beat down directly on those windows and let natural heat flow through your home. Even if you crank down your thermostat to a lower temperature, your home naturally harnesses this heat for free.
So you’re wondering what is the most cost-efficient way to heat a home? Because utilizing the sun’s natural heat is free, this is the cheapest way to heat a home.
That means your programmable thermostat can be turned down to 60 degrees during the day, but the sun’s natural light can heat it to 65 without you paying a penny for those 5 degrees.
But keep in mind that also leaving north-facing windows open will allow that heat to escape through the darker, cooler windows on the other side of your home.
3. Install Weather Stripping
Maybe your home feels a bit drafty and maybe it doesn’t. No matter if you can feel the difference or you can’t, some of that cold air outside is itching to make its way inside your home — and it will find a way to do so.
By installing weather-stripping products under exterior-leading doors and windows, you can assure that cold air stays outside and the hot heat you’re paying for stays inside. Weather stripping can be purchased at your local hardware store for about $2 per foot, so it’s an extremely cheap fix.
4. Insulate Your Attic
While insulating an attic typically costs anywhere from $1.50 to $3.00 per square foot (an average of $1,300 to $2,500 per home), it’s well worth the investment in the long run.
During winter months, attic insulation provides a championship defense against heat from escaping through your roof and cold air from penetrating your roof. Plus, it works the opposite way in the summer months, keeping cool air inside and hot air outside.
How much money can insulating your attic save on the heating bill? About 30 percent per year. That’s a ton of savings, especially since the average winter heating expenses can tip the scale at more than $1,000 for just a few months.
Furthermore, adding insulation to your attic can save you the hassle of getting a new roof due to ice dams that pile up and weaken the area. Yup, attic insulation also helps to keep your roof’s life solid for many more years.
5. Switch to Solar Power
While the most energy-efficient way to heat a house is switching to solar power, not everyone can afford it or can see the big-picture savings for such a large investment. Though technological advances in solar panels have been on the rise and costs have been on the decline in recent decades, there’s no arguing they’re still expensive.
A brand new solar system for your home can cost you upwards of $30,000, which is a huge investment. But it pays off in dividends through the years. Just think about it. If you install solar panels on your home, there’s a good chance you won’t pay another heating bill for the rest of your life!
So what is the most cost-efficient way to heat a home? If you do everything on this list, you’ll save on your heating bill like you never imagined!