We still have a couple months of winter left, which means we have to battle the cold weather for a bit longer. And with the amount of snow we’ve had over the past few days, spring seems so far away. It feels great when you escape from the cold air into your warm home, but that heat comes with a cost. Whether you have a furnace, pellet stove, heat pump or a fireplace, staying warm throughout the Maine winter isn’t a cheap task. According to the Department of Energy, heating costs account for just over half of the energy use in an average American home. Luckily, there are some easy adjustments you can make to reduce your heating costs!
Use Your Ceiling Fan
While you may think ceiling fans are only used as a way to cool down, they can also be utilized for heat. Most fans are set to spin in a counter-clockwise rotation, as they suck the hot air up during the summer. If you can, put your fan in reverse mode to give it a clockwise rotation. Because heat rises, the air around the ceiling in your home is typically warmer than the air closer to the floor. While in reverse mode, letting the fan run on low will gently push the hot air back down.
Be Aware of Exhaust Fans
Exhaust fans in your kitchen and bathroom are designed to pull hot air out of your home. When cooking, use the exhaust fan for the minimal amount of time it takes to ventilate the space. And when exiting the bathroom, it can be easy to accidentally flip the exhaust switch instead of the light switch. If you hear it kick on, run back and turn it off so you aren’t letting it run for extended periods of time.
Close it Up
Close your curtains or drapes when the sun isn’t shining directly into your home. This is especially important during cold winter nights, as you lose around 20% of your heat through windows. If you notice a gap between the bottom of your exterior doors and their frames, use door sweeps to reduce the amount of heat lost. You can find them at most home improvement or hardware stores, and are easy to install. If you have a fireplace, close your damper when you don’t have an active fire. Because heat rises, an open damper will allow warm air to escape from your house. Keeping it closed can also prevent any unnecessary drafts. However, make sure you remember to open it up before you light a fire in your fireplace!
Adjust Your Thermostat
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you can save 10% on your heating bills by turning down your thermostat 10 degrees while you sleep. Because you are curled up inbed with your blankets, your body heat may keep you warm enough to justify turning the heat down. Another option is turn down the heat in rooms that you never use, like guest rooms and storage areas. By sealing off the vents in those rooms, you are being more energy efficient and directing the flow of air to the rooms you use most. Just make sure there aren’t any pipes in those rooms, as you don’t want them to freeze and burst.
What do you do to save on heat during the winter? I’d love to know!