Tips on Hacking Down Your Heating Bill
Temperatures are beginning to drop, and chances are you’ve already turned on your heat. It goes without saying: lower temperatures mean higher heating bills. Heating your house can cost you heaps. The U.S. Department of Energy offers lots of advice on how to lower your energy bills. But even if you do cash in on Congress’ new energy tax credits (which can add up to US$500 to your 2006 tax return!), the major home improvements required to qualify for the rebate – installing energy efficient windows, doors, heating and cooling systems, and water heaters – may cost so much that it could take you 15 to 20 years to pay for the improvements – let alone save on heating bills! Before you break the bank on big upgrades, try these (smaller) top tips from Scambusters, on how to reduce your heating bill without going cold:
1. Turn down your thermostat – It sounds obvious, but even a few degrees can make a big difference.
2. Clean your furnace – A clean furnace is an efficient furnace. This can mean changing your air filter, which usually costs less than $20.
3. Use your ceiling fans – This may sound counter-intuitive, but using your ceiling fans in the winter really works. A fan set in reverse can draw warm air through your home, helping to keep it warm.
4. Raise window-coverings – Keep your shades up, and your blinds open. Take advantage of natural daylight and solar heat through your windows.
5. Seal leaks – Drafts can add significantly to your home heating costs during the winter, so be sure to locate and seal off drafts with caulk or weather strips. It might even be worth it to do a home-energy audit, which costs around $15, and can pinpoint the problems that are costing you. An expert will use a variety of equipment - blower doors, infrared cameras and surface thermometers - to find leaks and drafts that might otherwise be missed.