Jan 03, 2019
There's no question about it: Cold winter weather is here to stay for the next few months in the Washington, D.C, Maryland, and Northern Virginia area.
This time of year, we get a lot of calls from homeowners asking about how they can efficiently heat their homes to prevent utility bills from skyrocketing. The truth is, there are plenty of easy, inexpensive ways homeowners can save money on heating — it just takes a little bit of effort.
Here’s how to save money on heating this winter:
1. Seal windows and doors
Keep your utility bills from spiking by sealing up drafty windows and doors. When windows and doors aren’t properly sealed, cold outdoor air makes its way into your home and heated indoor air can easily escape, which means you’ll need to crank the furnace to ensure your home stays warm.
Here are some ways to eliminate cold air drafts:
- Replace weather stripping. Installing weatherstripping is an easy way to close gaps around doors and windows. Not only will your home feel warmer, but you can save around 10 to 15 percent on your energy bills.
- Use draft stoppers. Over time, window and door frames can warp, creating chilly drafts. While replacing your windows may not be in the budget, you can keep cold air out by using draft stoppers under your windows and doors.
- Seal windows with a temporary insulation film. For extra draft protection, you can purchase inexpensive window insulation film, which can save you upwards of $15 per window during heating season. If you don’t plan on opening windows during the cold winter months, this temporary solution can make a significant difference.
2. Install programmable thermostats
If you want to save money on heating this winter, you have to be strategic. One way you can manage your home heating system is with programmable thermostats. Programmable thermostats allow homeowners to raise and lower the temperature throughout the day to ensure their homes are heated efficiently.
Turning the heat down during the day (if no one is home) and at night when everyone is asleep can help significantly lower your utility bills. You should also schedule the heat to drop if you’re planning on going out of town for an extended period of time — just make sure the thermostat is set to no lower than 50 degrees in order to prevent frozen pipes.
Read more: Is lowering your heat temperature a good idea in extreme cold?
3. Open curtains and blinds during the day
Reap the rewards of nature’s heat source. By opening your curtains and blinds during the day, sunlight can pass through your windows and help heat the air in your home. Although sunlight alone won’t be able to effectively heat your home, it can be used in addition to your home’s heating system to keep your home warm without the need to turn up the thermostat.
Conversely, thick curtains and blinds can be used to block drafts and prevent heat from escaping through door and window frames. This can be useful in rooms that don’t receive a lot of natural light, or at night when sunlight isn’t shining through the windows.
4. Layer up clothing and blankets
Your body is resilient and can tolerate more than you think. Turning the heat down to a few degrees below what you’re used to can make a real difference in your heating costs. It may be a little uncomfortable at first, but your body will quickly adjust to the temperature change.
In the meantime, you can stay warm by wearing a thicker pair of socks, layering up with a sweater or jacket, and using extra blankets. Down comforters and duvet inserts can also help keep you comfortable at night when it’s extra chilly.
5. Use a fireplace or wood-burning stove
If applicable, use other sources of heat to stay warm rather than messing with the furnace. Wood-burning fireplaces and stoves are great sources of localized heat and can keep a room warm for a couple of hours, which means you can turn down the thermostat and, ultimately, cut heating costs.
It’s important to be safe when dealing with wood-burning fireplaces and stoves. Improper fireplace use, damaged chimney flues, and dirty stovepipes put you and your family at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, which can be fatal. Before lighting a fire this season, have a professional conduct your annual chimney inspection and make sure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are functioning properly.
Stay Warm This Winter
While there are a number of easy, inexpensive ways to save money on heating, the best way to keep heating costs down is to ensure your home heating system is in good working order. If you suspect there may be an issue with your furnace or boiler, call CroppMetcalfe’s 5-Star HVAC technicians at 703-698-8855 or contact us online to schedule a service appointment.