As temperatures drop and the leaves begin their glorious change to vibrant reds, majestic oranges and golden hues, we all look to the thermostats in our home and begin our “Is it really time to turn on the heat?” inner debate. Home heating costs have risen drastically over the past decade, whether you heat with oil, gas, electric or wood.
Making the decision to turn on your furnace or fire up your wood stove means its back to the season of constantly watching your home heating costs. But, there is good news in the battle of your family versus the winter of 2016; there are many easy steps you can take to cut back on your home heating costs this year.
Winter proofing your home is the biggest change you can make to save home heating costs this winter. According to the U.S. Energy Department, 7-12 percent of the average home’s heat is lost from poor insulation around windows, doors and other areas in your home. While the best solution is a well-insulated home with energy efficient, insulated windows, we all don’t have the budget to make major home improvements to increase this type of home energy efficiency. Fortunately, there are many low cost solutions to help you keep your heating costs down.
3 things to do to save money on your heating bill this winter:
Replace Weather Stripping: Over time, the weather stripping around your exterior doors breaks down, cracks and causes gaps where a lot of heat can escape. Weather stripping should be replaced every two years and is a quick, easy task. It usually just requires ripping the worn stripping down and pasting up the new strips. Also, weather stripping is fairly inexpensive, at around $10 per door.
Caulking Around Windows and Holes in Exterior Walls: Windows can be a big heat thief, stealing so much of your home’s toasty heat. Caulking around your windows will create a stronger barrier against the cold of the outdoors and seal escape routes for your heat. Be sure to also check the areas where your pipes, gas and cable lines enter your home. As with weather stripping on doors, the caulk that fills these areas will break down over time. Recaulk this area at least every two years with expanding foam. You’ll not only save heat, but you’ll also block a prime entry route to the indoors for rodents and insects looking for a warm home for the winter months.
Insulate Electrical Outlets: Have you ever put your hand in front of an electrical socket on an exterior wall in your home on a very cold day? If not, you’d be shocked at the cold draft these areas of your home produce. Electricians are skilled in providing the wiring for your home, but energy efficiency isn’t necessarily on their mind. Many times exterior wall electrical sockets lack any insulation, making them a serious threat to your home heating bill.
Luckily, you can easily and inexpensively seal these leaks. First, remove the wall socket cover and check the size of the gap within the electrical socket box. Fill small gaps with acrylic caulk. Larger gaps should be sealed with a foam spray. Next, visit your local home improvement store and pick up a few packs of foam socket gaskets. These little guys are super inexpensive (around $.50 each) but will create an additional barrier between the cold and your home. They are also very easy to install – just place the foam gasket over the socket or switch and then replace the wall socket cover.
Heating your home this winter doesn’t have to be a budget breaking venture. Using these easy, inexpensive home improvement tips can help you save big bucks on your winter home heating costs.