The fact that increasing efficiency and using less energy in the home is good for the environment, the fact that it saves money is all the incentive most families need. By taking a few simple steps, a 5 to 10 percent reduction in the home heating bill this winter, or more, is absolutely reasonable.
From extreme low-tech to the latest in efficiency, there are many ways to save money on home heating. For starters, go to the controls – check the nobs and dials. Lowering the thermostat by just one degree takes about 1 percent to 3 percent off the heating bill depending on the size of the space. No homes with a dishwasher need to set their hot-water heater above 120 degrees, and those without a dishwasher can go even lower. Using an automated or programmable controls makes this efficiency boost essentially effortless.
Then there’s some simple behaviour changes that can dramatically reduce the home heating bill. Washing clothes in cold water and taking shorter showers, even if just by a minute, will also add up to significant savings in the long run. Instead of heating an entire house, consider using a space heater or fireplace to make just one room nice and toasty. The living room, bedroom, or wherever most people will spend most time is usually sufficient. Use an electric blanket to provide a warm bed without the cost of heating the entire room. Of course, if it’s really not that cold out, wear a sweater instead of cranking up the heater.
Finally, there’s some bigger shifts that can be made that will have the greatest effect. Replacing old appliance with efficient appliances, such as those with the Energystar logo, use 10 to 50 percent less energy than other models. That’s huge! Add on the tax breaks available for most Energystar appliances, and the cost of replacing an old furnace or water heater may be less than it seems. And then there’s those leaks around doors, windows, air conditioners and fireplaces – the heat lost through these space can be responsible for as much as 30 percent of home heating costs. Why pay to heat the house twice? Sealing leaks with caulk or weather stripping will ensure the most bang for the heating buck.