Ten life hacks for saving on your home heating bill

With winter weather upon us, you might be starting to think of ways to lower your home energy bills. Whether you’re a homeowner or a renter who pays your own utilities, you’ll be happy to learn that a few simple steps can help you save big on your energy costs this year.

1. Adjust the thermostat at night – Adjusting your thermostat can save up to 10% per year on your bill. Programmable thermostats can help you to do this automatically, or you can do it manually before bed.

2. Get a heating system tune-up – If you’re a homeowner, getting your heating system tuned up can help you save on your energy costs. Your home heating provider will not only make sure it’s running as efficiently as it can but also that it’s up to the job of keeping you warm through a cold winter.

3. Replace your furnace or water heater - If your furnace or water heater is older than 10-15 years, it may be time to replace it. According to Energy.gov, new high-efficiency heating systems can be as much as 34% more efficient in terms of annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE). Old furnace systems typically have efficiencies in the range of 56% - 70%, while their modern counterparts can achieve efficiencies as high as 98.5%. Propane gas water heaters cost approximately $10 less per month to operate than comparable electric units. On average they are 42% less expensive than electric heaters and over an average life span, they can save homeowners nearly $2,000 more than an electric unit while heating more than twice as much water in an hour as comparable electric models.

4. Use ceiling fans to your advantage – In the summer, ceiling fans are a great way to keep cool, but in the winter, they also serve a purpose. If your fan has 2 direction modes, reversed fans can help to circulate warm air in the room which means you’ll need to crank up your heat that much less.

5. Dial back the hot water – Hot water heaters typically come factory set at 140 degrees, while 120 degrees is perfectly warm enough for most. Lower your water heater's temperature and save a little bit on your energy costs.

6. Find and fix plumbing leaks – Leaky faucets and pipes can cause your energy and water bill to rise. Have a plumber check out your pipes before winter sets in to ensure you don’t have any leaks. It’s also a good idea to ask a plumber about home winterization.

7. Weatherstrip your doors – The kind of leaks that let in air are also an issue. Make sure that your windows are sealed tight, and that there are no drafty areas by doors. There are a number of online DIY guides on how to do this.

8. Install storm windows – You can protect your home and heating bill by installing storm windows and screen doors to block out the wind and cold.

9. Change air filters frequently – For homeowners with natural gas heating systems, changing your air filters frequently can help avoid airflow blockage which can hamper efficiency.

10. Get your chimney cleaned – While it’s not exactly related to what you may think of as your heating system, a fireplace can be a great way to turn off your heat altogether at times and really save. To do that safely, you’ll want to get your chimney professionally cleaned before Santa tries to make his way down or you have any fires burning. If you are considering switching to gas logs, propane gas-burning fireplaces cost between 30% and 60% less per hour of operation than wood-burning fireplaces, 40 times fewer emissions than wood-burning units, cost less to operate and can be turned off easily with a switch, eliminating concern about remaining embers.

With these tips in mind you can make your home a warmer and more energy-efficient place to hunker down for winter. For more information regarding efficient propane systems, contact your local Southern Propane office.

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