• Gastech Heating And Plumbing

How to Lower Your Heating Bill This Winter


Heating your home may well be one of the biggest expenses you face each winter. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce your heating bill and keep your home warm still. Are you interested in being more energy efficient and still staying warm? You’ll end up saving money over the coldest months of the year.


Service Your Boiler

You should plan to have your boiler serviced each fall, before the cold weather hits, but it’s never too late. Your boiler can have a huge effect on how much heating oil you use each winter. If it isn’t burning efficiently, you could end up doubling your oil usage. A simple tune-up could be all you need to reduce your heating bills, but if you need a bigger repair, you’ll find the end savings are even higher.


Keep in mind that boilers do decrease in efficiency over time. There are more technological advances all the time, as well, which make it worthwhile looking at replacing your boiler if it’s over 15 years old.


The newer models are far more efficient and will save you more money in the long run. You can talk to your boiler engineer about the need to replace your existing boiler and they will let you know if that’s a good plan.


Wear More Clothes

A very simple method of reducing the amount of heat needed in your home is to wear a little more. It may be nice to wander about in short pants, but is it necessary? Add a sweater and socks and you could drop your heating bill by up to 5%. Of course, you’ll need to reduce the temperature, as well, but it’s easy to stay comfortable at a slightly lower temperature and still save money.


Turn Down Your Water Heat

It’s advisable to reduce your hot water temperature if you have children in the home, but did you know that you should consider it even if you have no children? Just reducing your heat by 10° can save you roughly 5% on your water heating bill. In fact, in the average home, water heaters make up 17% of your energy use, so it’s another area to reduce, even if you use an electric water heater and it is separate from the boiler. It still counts as a heating cost and can be reduced just by turning the heat down slightly.


Close Your Chimney Flue

If you don’t close the flue, you’ll end up with a lot of cold air coming down the chimney. It’s nearly the same as leaving one of your windows open. If you’re not using the chimney, be sure to close the flue to avoid this problem. Alternatively, you can light a fire and use that to help heat your room a little, though fireplaces are not the most efficient methods of heating your home.


Seal Off Draughty Windows and Doors

Your windows and doors are where a lot of cold air comes in. It’s also likely a place where the heat is escaping. The more cold that gets into your home, the more likely you are to have problems with overuse of heating oil.


The best thing to do is seal off any draughty areas. For doors, you can purchase a special sealing foam that attaches to the bottom of the door, allowing it to open still, but preventing air from blowing in through the gap.


For windows, you should start by caulking or otherwise sealing around the edges of the windows to prevent air from getting in through the gaps. Unless you already have double glazed windows, you’ll likely feel quite a chill coming from the glass, as well.


You can’t do much about stopping this, unfortunately, unless you get double glazed windows (a worthy investment), but you can block the cold. Hang heavy curtains over the window to prevent the cold from penetrating the room. This will help insulate the house.


Another option is to use plastic to cover your windows. Back in the day, people simply stapled sheets of plastic over their windows, but now you can get special kits to attach with tape and then heat with a hair dryer to tighten the plastic layer up. This gives you a clean, clear look and the additional protection of another layer of trapped air.


Insulate the Attic

If you have an attic or even just a crawl space above your home, know that it is probably using up a lot of heat. After all, heat rises, so it’s headed up to the attic as soon as it is released into your home.


A good way to tell if your roof and attic have enough insulation is to look at the snow pattern on your roof. If you find that there isn’t much snow or it melts quickly compared to your neighbours, then you have very little insulation. It’s your regular heating that is melting the snow.


Adding more insulation to your attic is a fairly simple method of preventing heat loss. You should use at least 7-8 inches of fibreglass insulation to prevent heat from rising through the ceiling. If you lay this insulation out on the attic floor, make sure you add insulation to the attic door. This can be attached to the door to make sure it stays in place.


Seal Pipes and Outlets

Your electrical outlets are often a source of draughts, if they’re set into an exterior wall. This is due to the lack of insulation behind the outlet box. Any cold air from outside simply passes through the wall gap and comes out your outlets.


The simplest way to reduce this problem is to get some spray foam. Take the cover off the outlet and use the spray foam to seal around the box, blocking any draughts that come from the edges. There are also special outlet insulators you can purchase to cover the actual plate and prevent any other cold from seeping in.


Your pipes are another source of cold coming into the house. Wherever a pipe passes through a wall or ceiling, it’s possible for cold air to come with it. Use caulk to seal around these pipes and to ensure there is no way for cold air to make it through. If the gaps are larger, you may prefer to use spray foam to seal the space.


Make Use of Air Flow

Heat tends to move straight up if you don’t do something to move it around. You should ensure that any heating vents or radiators are unblocked and don’t have large pieces of furniture in front of them. This allows for maximum airflow.


You can increase the flow and movement of the heat by simply turning on any ceiling fans that you have and reversing them so they push the hot air down from the ceiling and into the room.


Install a Programmable Thermostat

These thermostats are an excellent way to save money. Many people will leave their heat on while they’re at work or away for the day because they don’t want to come home to a cold house. The same thing happens at night. You actually sleep better with a lower temperature, but very few people wish to fall asleep when it’s cold in the house.


A thermostat that you can program to turn the heat up or down will help reduce your bills quite a bit. You can set it to drop the temperature while you’re away for the day and turn it up an hour before you arrive home, so the house is comfortable as you walk in the door. You have saved money all day, but don’t need to be freezing upon your arrival.


The same thing goes for sleeping. You can have the thermostat turn the heat down after you’ve fallen asleep and turn it up again before you wake. While this won’t be nearly as drastic, it can certainly help drop those heating costs.


If you follow even a few of these tips, you’ll find that you pay less in heating bills this year. There’s no reason to use excess heat when a simple change of habit will change everything. If you look after your boiler and eliminate draughts, you should see a big difference in your bills.


Do you need to buy some heating oil or gas? Contact Gastech to learn more about how you can cut your costs.

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