While people the world over are rejoicing about the sharp drop in the price of oil, here in Alberta a lot of us are feeling a pinch because of it. There isn’t much we can do to control the actions of an oil cartel half a world away, but we can do stuff to batten down the hatches at home. One of the things we CAN control or at least influence is the cost to heat our homes in the dead of winter.
Put on a Sweater!
Or some socks, whatever. Just nudge the thermostat down a couple of degrees, and you just may be amazed at the difference it makes on your home heating bills. Every degree you lower the temperature for at least eight hours can reduce your heating bill by 1%. If you use a programmable thermostat to lower the temperature by five degrees while you’re out at work all day, your bill will be 5% lower, and you won’t even notice it.
While you can buy a specialized pillow that is used at the bottom of doors to keep cold, drafty air outside, but you’ll probably find that an old rolled up towel works just as well. You can put it away when guests are coming if you’re worried about keeping up appearances. You can also break out the hair dryer and the good old shrink film to cover windows. Everybody knows about this, and virtually nobody does it. That’s a shame because it allows a room to keep around an extra 50% of its heat. No, that’s not a typo!
Maintain the Furnace
Like most appliances with moving parts (Hint: nearly all of them), your furnace will run more efficiently when it is well maintained. If you didn’t heed our advice to have your furnace serviced back in the fall, there is no time like the present! Even something as simple as replacing the filters regularly can reduce your home heating costs AND cut down on the dust and allergens floating around the house.
Don’t Heat Unused Spaces
If you have a guest bedroom that is unused most of the time or an unfinished basement that you only use to throw in a load of laundry here and there, close the vents in those areas. There’s no need to keep a space that’s not in use at a comfortable temperature for… nobody. Doing this will allow your furnace to function more efficiently to keep the areas that ARE used more comfortable for everybody.
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