5 Tips For Lowering Your Heating Bills During Winter
You are probably gearing up for the cold weather or waiting for the snow to pile up to go skiing and snowboarding in the mountains. I also guess you’re concerned with how to keep your apartment warm and comfortable without having to worry about your heating bills. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the average apartment owner or renter spends more than half of their yearly utility bills on heating and cooling.
Fortunately, you can take some steps to keep your apartment warm and save energy at the same time. Here are tips that might help in your apartment.
- Open the Windows and Use Free Heat from the Sun.
Opening your shades to allow winter sunlight can help make a dent in your heating costs.
At sunrise, open your south-facing curtains to allow your apartment to soak up the free heat. This works particularly well if your apartment has stone or concrete walls and floors which have high thermal mass, meaning they have the ability to store and radiate heat. As soon as the sun goes down, close your windows so that the heat inside is trapped.
When you decide to take advantage of the sun’s energy to heat your apartment, it is vital that you also lower your thermostat by a few degrees – these two steps combined are what save energy and money.
- Use a Lower Thermostat Setting.
Turning down the thermostat is one sure way to maximize comfort and save energy.
You can save up to 10 percent on your heating bill by resetting your thermostat to lower levels (about 10-15%) for just 8 hours, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
During the winter months, the recommended thermostat setting is 68 during the day and 55 at night or away from your apartment.
Rolling back your thermostat to 55 degrees while you sleep or away from apartment saves you approximately 13 percent on your heating bill. During the day, you can increase the thermostat setting to 68 or wear winter clothing to keep warm. This can save you about 10 percent on your heating bill.
Invest in smart thermostats because they are more efficient, user-friendly and Wi-Fi enabled. They allow you to regulate the temperature remotely from your phone or other devices.
- Dress for Cold Weather.
When cold weather sets in, it is easier to change your body temperature than room temperature.
So, instead of turning up the heat, dress in layers when you’re inside the house. Put on a cozy winter sweater, warm socks, and pair of slippers on your feet. Doing this helps maintain your core body heat, which in turn protects you from cold air and freezing snow.
- Only Heat Rooms you Use.
If you are heating more spaces in your apartment, the furnace will suck a lot of electricity or gas.
The best way to control the amount of energy consumed by the furnace is to seal off the vents in rooms that you don’t use, such as guest rooms, basement, or large storage areas.
Closing vents to those rooms that you don’t use not only increase energy efficiency but also directs heat to areas you spend most of your time.
Apart from the central heating system, you can use a portable space heater to warm rooms you want to occupy. Using a space heater and setting the thermostat to 62 degrees can save you up to $200 each year.
- Set your Ceiling Fan to Run in a Clockwise Direction
In the summer, ceiling fans play an important role in improving airflow in rooms. They may not lower the temperature, but they provide evaporative cooling by circulating the conditioned air where it’s needed most.
Ceiling fans are also a popular choice for keeping the air inside apartments warm and healthy during winter. Since warm air is less dense than cold air, it rises near the ceiling, leaving the cold air near the floor. If you set your ceiling fan to run in a clockwise direction, it’ll circulate the warm air that rises to the top, making the room feel warmer.
When you turn the fan on, make sure the blades are running in the right direction. They only circulate the warm air if they are spinning clockwise. However, if you notice that they are still running anti-clockwise, inspect the fan and be sure to turn on the switch that reverses the direction of the blades.
Air Quality Specialist
Shannon Faith is an Indoor Air Quality Specialist and a Blogger. Currently, she runs an indoor air quality site, QualityHomeAirCare.com, where she helps homeowners find indoor air quality appliances and offers tips on how to control indoor air pollution and maintain a healthy home.