Sweater weather is here, but no one likes the energy price surge that happens when temperatures fall. That’s why we’re breaking down the best ways to save money heating your home.
On the bright side, more than half of U.S. households are projected to spend less on heating this year. According to the Energy Information Administration’s Winter Fuels Outlook, families that heat their homes with natural gas can expect to save 21% this fall and winter. Households that heat with oil, located mostly in the Northeast, will likely spend more because of the colder winter weather forecast.
Ram Narayanamurthyis the Deputy Director of the Building Technologies Office at the Department of Energy. He says there are five easy ways everyone can work to keep the cold out and keep money in their bank account.
Step one: install weather stripping.
"Make sure that you have weather stripping around your doors and window," says Narayanamurthy, emphasizing the importance of checking your insulation to make sure it’s keeping the cold air out.
Step two: use the sun’s heat.
That means opening and closing your curtains throughout the day to reduce the chill and take advantage of the sun’s warmth to heat your home.
Step three: maintain your system.
“Maintenance on a heating system, it not only just improves your energy use, it improves comfort quite substantially,” says Narayanamurthy. He recommends changing your filters and staying on top of any other routine maintenance your heating system might need.
Step four: install a smart thermostat.
That will allow you to change the temperature in your home throughout the day, even if you aren’t home. While adding a smart thermostat will cost more upfront, Narayanamurthy says it will save you a lot of money down the line.
Step five: check for incentives and credits.
“Right now, there are a lot of really great incentives for insulating your home,” says Narayanamurthy. He suggests making your home’s energy efficiency a priority, because the government will often pay for part of the upgrades.
Finally, if you’re having trouble paying your energy bill, there are options available to help, so you don’t have to make hard choices about heating your home. “Many utilities have programs to help customers who are struggling to pay their bills,” says Narayanamurthy. He suggests giving your utility a call if you’re struggling.