Here in North Texas, we may have a reputation for our scorching hot summers, but while winter may not stretch on for months and months here, when it arrives, it gets chilly! Heating your home is a necessary and unavoidable expense every winter. Rather than just accepting this as an annual hit to your wallet, try out some of these helpful tips to raise the heat and lower your bills.
Fill Your Gaps
Warmed air leaking out around poorly sealed window frames, power sockets, recessed light fittings, and other gaps is a big source of heat loss in homes. Also, when the wind blows, you can feel drafts from those gaps. Use caulk, foam strips or expanding foam to seal up unwanted holes in your home. Don’t waste the money you’ve spent heating the indoor air by letting it escape.
If your house is modern and well-constructed, its walls, floors, ceilings, and roof will already contain some insulation material. Commonly, builders use affordable fiberglass or expanded polystyrene (EPS) to insulate homes. Add extra insulation to your home cheaply by layering up mineral wool in your attic. Thick curtains help to insulate glass at windows. If your windows are single-glazed, consider sticking transparent polythene film to your internal window frames to act as super-low-budget “double-glazing.”
Use Your Thermostat
Although some people seem to struggle with the concept, thermostats are self-regulating devices that keep spaces at a constant temperature. If you have room thermostats, decide what temperature you want for each room, set them, and then leave them alone. Even better, you can now buy ultra-efficient learning thermostats that automatically track your patterns of temperature preference and auto-adjust accordingly.
Turn Your Water Heater Down
Water has a very high specific heat capacity. It doesn’t like to warm up, so you have to input a lot of energy to force it to. On the upside, it also takes a long time to cool down, so it’s an efficient energy storage medium. To reduce the amount of energy used in heating up all that water, turn down your water heater a little. Many water heaters are factory-set to a 140°F default and reducing the temperature by as little as 10°F will save you money.
Don’t Ignore Your Ceiling Fans
Denser, cooler air stays closer to the ground, and warmer air rises. All that warm air is not much use to you up at the ceiling, so force it downwards with a low-speed fan. Intuitively, you might set the fan to blow the warm air directly downwards, but you may feel this as a draft against your skin. Instead, try reversing the fan’s setting so it sends the warm air upwards, as this will distribute it back down the walls to mix with the rest of the air in the room, gradually raising the ambient temperature.