Amid dropping temperatures and rising heating bills, strategies to lower your heating bill may be sorely needed this winter. The…
Amid dropping temperatures and rising heating bills, strategies to lower your heating bill may be sorely needed this winter. The U.S. Energy Information Administration recently projected that if winter is even a little colder than usual, energy bills could rise 15% for households that get their heat from electricity. Those who heat their home with natural gas might see a 50% jump, and households using heating oil and propane could see rates climb 59% and 94%, respectively.
Read on for strategies to counteract those rising heat bills, including affordable fixes and pricier investments:
— Plug leaks in your home.
— Invest in new windows.
— Utilize heating hacks.
— Install solar panels.
— Buy a smart thermostat.
— Run ceiling fans.
— Draw the shades.
Cheap Fix: Plug Leaks in Your Home
Make sure your house is properly insulated, says Steve Hoffins, vice president of marketing in windows and doors at Cornerstone Building Brands in Cary, North Carolina. He suggests looking at your walls, floors and ceilings, as well as the perimeters of doors, windows, appliances and other points of air infiltration for proper insulation.
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that homeowners can save an average of 15% on heating and cooling costs by air sealing their homes and adding insulation in attics, floors over crawl spaces and accessible basement rim joints.
You don’t necessarily have to spend a lot of money to fix your leaks, according to Hoffins. Spray foam may work fine. Granted, it may not shave 15% off your heating costs, but any heat that you can keep from escaping your home should help reduce your bill.
Expensive Fix: Invest in New Windows
It’s a sad fact that to save big on heating costs in the long run, you have to spend money in the short term. But if drafts are getting into your home, you’re fighting something of a losing battle. At some point, investing in your home will become inevitable.
Many new windows come with energy-savings features that will allow you to heat your home for less, Hoffins says.
“Almost all windows on the market today have double-pane insulated glass units, but many manufacturers even offer upgrades to triple-pane glass, insulating spacers and even argon and krypton gas filling for maximum efficiency,” Hoffins says.
According to HomeAdvisor, the average cost of replacing one window is $850, and the price generally ranges between $300 and $2,100.
But keep in mind that this investment will eventually pay off. The U.S. Department of Energy points out that windows are responsible for 25% to 30% of residential heating and cooling energy use.
[Read: How to Choose Energy-Efficient Windows for Your Home]
Cheap Fix: Utilize Heating Hacks
If you can’t afford new windows or doors, you might consider a temporary fix involving bubble wrap and tinfoil from Chris Harvey, head of marketing at Stelrad Radiator Group, a U.K.-based company.
“If you suffer from drafty windows, a quick and easy …….