When winter temperatures in Minnesota regularly clock in colder than the surface of Mars, we can’t be blamed for wanting to crank up the heat and burrow under our warmest electric heating blanket from January to March. However, that instinct might change when your first heating bill of the winter shows up. How can you maintain a cost-effective balance between staying warm and staying frugal during the frigid Minnesota winter? These energy-saving winter heating hacks will keep your home comfortable without breaking your budget.
10 Energy-Saving Winter Heating Hacks
1. Set your thermostat at 68 degrees. You can save up to 5% on your heating costs by lowering the temperature just one degree! So set your thermostat as low as you can tolerate, then bundle up in cozy winter-wear such as sweaters, thick socks, and long underwear.
2. Set your thermostat 10 degrees cooler during the day. Your home will still be warm when you get home from work in the evening, but you’ll save money by not wasting energy on heating your house while you’re not there to benefit.
2.5 Better yet, install a programmable thermostat. Instead of manually changing your thermostat’s temperature every time you come and go, let a programmable thermostat do the work for you. Simply set a comfortable temperature for the hours you’re at home, and a lower one for when you’re away. Some thermostats, like the Nest Learning Thermostat, will even learn your habits for you! Winter heating hacks don’t get easier than that.
3. Capitalize on solar energy. No, we don’t mean go buy a solar panel. You can put solar energy to work simply by opening your blinds and arranging furniture so it sits in the path of direct sunlight during the day, warming rooms without using extra energy.
4. Clean and change air filters on a monthly basis. Filters work hard during the winter, collecting dust, pollen, and other allergens that clog the filter over time, reducing efficiency. Clean filters will reduce energy use and prevent indoor air pollution during the winter months.
5. Put your ceiling fan to good use. It may seem counterintuitive to run your ceiling fan during the winter, but the idea that fans produce cool air is a common misconception. In fact, they just control airflow. In the summer, blades should point down to create downward currents that cool the room. Flipping the blades in the winter so that airflow is directed upward will help dispel warm air that collects on the ceiling, circulating it throughout the room.
6. Fill the gaps. Experts say that the gaps around windows and doors in many homes add up to the equivalent of a 3×3-foot hole in your wall. That’s a lot of cold air coming in and sabotaging the valiant efforts of your home heating system! Plug up these gaps with caulking and weatherstripping to keep the cold air outside where it belongs so that your indoors stays snug and warm.
7. Invest in heavy drapery. Insulation is the best way to keep warm air trapped inside your house, but if your home is light in insulation, there are ways you can add your own. Heavy drapes hung over windows – a prominent source of heat loss – are an excellent supplementary layer of insulation. Cover large sections of windows with high-quality drapes.
8. Turn down the heat. Yes, you read that right. When you let the water run for several minutes during a shower or while washing dishes, has it ever become so hot that it starts to scaled you? Most water heaters come installed at a factory setting of 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Turn your default setting down to 120 degrees. It will still be plenty warm, but you’ll save on heating costs and reduce your chances of being scalded in your morning shower.
Bonus Hack: Cover your water heater with a blanket (available at any hardware store for about $20) to prevent the tank from losing heat as quickly.
9. Get more mileage out of your oven. Don’t you love how using your oven during the winter warms up the room? Extend the benefits of running your oven by cracking the door when you’re done baking. This will allow the heat to escape into the room while the oven cools down. Plus, you’ll get to enjoy the aroma of whatever you cooked wafting through the room!
10. Embrace zone heating. We all have rooms in our homes that receive less use than others. The dining room. The “nice” living room for guests. The workout room we set up but never actually use. Whatever it is, there’s probably a room or two in your house that doesn’t need as much heat as your heavy-traffic rooms. Shut the doors to those rooms and close the vents or turn down the heat. By saving energy in your unused rooms, you can channel more into heating your favorite rooms to a truly cozy temperature.
11. Schedule a routine tune-up for your furnace. During this seasonal inspection, your heating professional will verify that your furnace is operating at peak efficiency and can perform any necessary repairs. Contact Bonfe today.
We hope you put these winter heating hacks to good use and stay warm and on-budget all season long!