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7 Ways to Reduce Your Heating Bill this Winter

Posted on: October 8, 2010

Winter weather is almost upon us, and that means that people all across the Maryland and Washington, DC area will be turning on their heating systems. What few people realize is that cranking up the heat doesn’t have to mean cranking up your bills – in fact, there are a number of simple things you can do yourself to reduce your heating bill by as much as 50%!

  • Avoid heating unnecessary rooms – Do you have a few rooms in your house that are occupied rarely, if ever? Heating those rooms makes your heater work harder and that causes your heating bills to edge higher. Even if you don’t have a zoned heating system, you can still take measures to reduce your heating bill by preventing some of the heat from entering unwanted rooms. Close and seal heat registers and air returns to unused rooms, and be sure to weather-strip the doors to other less-heated areas. Also be sure to keep your bathroom doors closed and weather-stripped at all times.
  • Adjust your furnace’s thermostat for the longest cycles – Changing the thermostat on your wall is easy enough, but you can also change your furnace’s internal temperature. To do this, simply pop the cover off and look inside. You should see a slider where you can adjust the cycle length. Keep in mind that setting the furnace to the longest cycles will cause wide temperature swings in your home, but this alone could provide an efficiency boost that can reduce your heating bill 15%.
  • Insulate your electrical outlets and switches on inside / outside walls – To do this, simply place foam pads underneath the cover plates. These are inexpensive and very easy to install.
  • Reduce heat loss from your attic – Weather-strip, insulate and seal off all access doors leading to cold attic areas and other areas you find where cold air can enter so that you can keep important rooms warm.
  • Set your thermostat lower – Obviously your heater is there to keep you warm. But if you set it a few degrees cooler and wear warmer clothes around the house you can significantly reduce your heating costs. Set it even lower at night when everyone is cozy in bed for further savings. According to the US Department of Energy, two 10 degree setbacks a day will reduce heating costs by 1/3.
  • Avoid window heat loss – Window heat loss accounts for as much as 1/3 of your heating bills. To prevent this, keep all shades and drapes closed and use rope caulk in every crack and opening. If possible, use shrink wrap on the inside of your windows to insulate further.
  • Seal and insulate all hot air metal ducts – Prevent heat loss by insulating water pipes, the box sill above your basement wall, the area between wood joists, and the top four feet inside the basement walls. This will prevent heat from escaping into the basement and keep it in your main floors where it belongs.

Every winter, your heater is the biggest draw on your energy bills. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take so that it does not have as big an effect on your monthly heating bills. And for all your Gaithersburg furnace service needs, call James A. Wheat & Sons!