Cheapest Ways to Heat a Home
As the deep winter approaches, homeowners begin to cringe at their upcoming electric or gas bills. Those freezing temperatures can wreak havoc on your finances. So what are the cheapest ways to heat your home? Hint: it’s not with space heaters!
Heat with Gas
Heating your home with a gas furnace can be one of the cheapest ways to heat your home. Depending on your geography, natural gas prices can be some of the cheapest energy options, making it an economical way to heat your home in the dead of winter. A gas furnace works by using a flame plus natural gas to spread heat throughout your home.
Heat with a Heat Pump
If you do not have the option of natural gas for your home, your next best choice is probably a heat pump. You can think of a heat pump as air conditioning in reverse. It takes the heat outside and compresses it to make it warmer. While you might be thinking, “what heat is outside when it’s cold?”, it can take even the smallest amounts and compress them to make warm air.
When using a heat pump, you’ll notice that the air coming from your vents is not as warm as a gas furnace, but that doesn’t mean it’s not working. The air will be a few degrees warmer than the ambient air to heat your home.
There is one major drawback to a heat pump, however. If your home faces temperatures consistently below 30 degrees, it may not be able to keep your home warm. In this scenario, backup heat, in the form of auxiliary heat strips will be supplied.
Auxiliary heat strips are extremely inefficient. You can think of them as a large space heater for your entire home. Whenever your heat pump cannot keep up, or adjust the thermostat more than a few degrees the auxiliary heat will kick on to heat your home.
Light the Fireplace
If you have a wood-burning fireplace, it’s time to break out the firewood and light a match. A wood-burning fireplace is very efficient given you have a supply of firewood. This can keep your whole home warm without the use of a costly furnace. Be sure to keep your fireplace and chimney well maintained to keep your home safe.
Use an Energy Efficient Space Heater
Space heaters can be massive energy sucks. You should only flip the switch when you absolutely need to. By opting for a newer, more energy-efficient model, you can save a couple of bucks per day depending on your usage.
Do you need to heat the whole home?
Another trick to lower your home heating bill is to only heat rooms that you use. And this doesn’t mean closing the vents to rooms that you don’t use, instead, you could use the energy-efficient space heater we mentioned above in rooms that you use frequently. Then, lower your thermostat to 65 degrees or less for the rest of your home. This can save you hundreds per year AND extend the life of your HVAC unit.
Leave the oven open after use
During the cold months, there’s nothing better than a hot, home-cooked meal. Whenever you decide to cook using the oven, leave it open after you’re done using it. All of that hot air can help to heat your home, even if it’s just a few degrees.
Pay your bills with a credit card (whenever there are no fees)
Paying your electric or gas bill with a credit card can save you a few bucks a month. Just make sure that there are no offsetting fees when you do so. You can earn anywhere from 1-2% in cashback depending on your credit card.
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Automate your heating
Home automation is the hottest trend (pun intended) in the market right now, and you should be taking advantage of it. Purchase a smart thermostat that can help you to automate your home heating. You can set your thermostat to lower the temperature of the home when you’re not there or throughout the night. All of these little tweaks can add up, especially over the colder winter months.
Open your shower door
After taking a hot shower to start your morning, you probably shut the door after you leave and never think twice about it. Instead, leave your shower and bathroom door upon after leaving. There are multiple benefits to this. Not only does the hot water disperse heat, but also the added humidity will make your room feel warmer than it really is.
Use a humidifier
During the winter, air tends to become drier and less humid. In turn, this will make your home feel cooler than it really is. Use an energy-efficient humidifier to help add moisture to the air. It will make your home feel warmer as well as keep your body healthy. Too dry of air can dry out your skin and cause other health problems.
Add extra insulation to your home
Adding insulation to your home can keep that valuable heat trapped in your home for longer, meaning less time paying for a running furnace or heat pump. Check to ensure that your attic is properly insulated and for older homes, make sure that your exterior walls are insulated.
Check exterior doors and windows for drafts
Your doors and windows are constantly exposed to the outdoors. Even the smallest of cracks or drafts can let the freezing air in your home, costing you money. Check your windows and doors to ensure you aren’t losing any valuable heat and if your windows are old enough, consider replacing them with newer, more insulated windows.
Check your air filter
A clogged air filter will not properly allow air to pass through it putting stress on your HVAC unit and making it work harder. Ensure that your air filter is free of debris and replace it every 4-6 months to ensure maximum efficiency and clean air.
As we approach the deeper winter months, keeping your heating costs low should become a priority. There are many things you can do to lower your heating costs from automating your thermostat to adding extra insulation to your home. These small adjustments can save you hundreds and even thousands over a few short years.