Depending on where you live, you may still have a few months of chilly winter weather left, despite Punxsutawney Phil not seeing his shadow earlier this month and predicting an early spring.
Although a glut in the domestic fuel supply has led to energy savings for many Americans this year, here are four easy – and inexpensive – things you can do today to slash your heating bill this winter:
- Change your HVAC filter. When was the last time you changed the air filter on your furnace? They should be changed monthly. “A dirty filter means both less clean air in your home and decreased efficiency as your heater wastes more energy while providing less heat,” Anum Yoon writes on Money.
- Heat your living space. If you have a large home, focus your heat on the areas of your living space that you use the most often. If you have rooms that don’t get much use — say an extra bedroom, an office or second living room — close doors to those rooms so you don’t waste heat on them.
- Install a programmable thermostat. According to Yoon, EnergyStar says using a programmable thermostat can lead to energy savings of roughly $180 a year for a typical single-family home. To really take advantage of the thermostat’s energy-saving potential, you need to use its customization options. “You can time the usage of your heat, opting to shut heat off while you’re at work and turn it on automatically before you get home, so your house is warm when you arrive but doesn’t waste energy all day,” Yoon explains.
- Bundle up. In northern Montana, we have some years when our heater seems to run nonstop for six straight months. Even with energy-saving measures in place, if we experience a three-week cold snap with subzero temperatures, it will drive our heating bill sky-high. To combat this, we bundle up, rather than turning up the heat. We wear sweaters and use blankets to cover up on the couch, and on especially cold nights we use a heating blanket on our bed.
Although it’s been unseasonably warm in my area recently, we have a popular saying here in Montana: “If you don’t like the weather, just wait five minutes and it will change.” I’m expecting at least one more cold snap before we welcome spring.
Now I’m off to change my furnace filter!
Do you have any tips on how to save on winter heating bills? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.