10 tips to help you reduce home heating costs

October 16, 2014

Want to reduce heating costs this winter but afraid it will involve a lot of big changes? You can set aside your fears because it's easy to achieve some amazing savings simply by doing a few odd jobs around the house, changing certain lifestyle habits or adopting new ones. Here are ten tips to help.

10 tips to help you reduce home heating costs

1. Install a programmable thermostat

A programmable thermostat allows you to better control room temperatures in your home.

  • A timer in these devices lets you adjust the temperature to rise and fall according to your sleep cycle and lifestyle.
  • During the day while you're at work, it can automatically lower the heat. Just before you return home, you can program your thermostat to raise the temperature.

2. Don't overheat rooms

Keep the house temperature at about 20°C, and lower the temperature by 3°C at night or when you’re away for a few hours.

  • If you turn down the heat before you leave for work, you’ll see a substantial energy savings on your next bill; a decrease of three degrees over a period of eight hours reduces heating costs by up to 4 1/2 per cent.

3. Check the "airtightness" of your home

It's a good idea to check areas of your home where it may be leaking heat in the winter, especially if you haven't done it in a while. The good news? A major renovation isn't always necessary to plug these leaks and reduce how much warm air seeps out.

  • Repair cracks, install weather stripping along doors and windows and use vents to close the exhaust ducts of the range hood and dryer.

4. Opt for fabric curtains

Curtains? Yes, curtains. Sounds simple, right? It is.

  • When you close them at night, you’ll benefit from an extra layer of insulation.

5. Turn on the ceiling fan

If you have ceiling fans, use them to increase warm air circulation.

  • Set the fan to turn in a clockwise direction and at the slowest speed. It will push warm air (which rises) back down.

6. Get rid of dust

Clean all light bulbs, baseboard heaters and heating vents regularly.

  • Dust makes them less efficient.

Also, avoid placing furniture in front of baseboard heaters or forced air outlets. This tends to block the flow of warm air.

7. Have your heating system professionally checked

Have your natural gas or oil heating system inspected by a qualified professional at least once a year.

  • Poor maintenance can actually increase your energy bills. What's more, an expert can spot issues that may not be obvious to an average homeowner and fix small problems before they become bigger, costlier repairs.

8. Replace old faucets and shower heads

You can save a bundle by replacing your old, inefficient faucets and shower head with low-flow models.

  • According to Natural Resources Canada’s Office of Energy Efficiency, heating water accounts for 20 per cent of a home’s energy costs. Using less hot water is a good way to reduce heating costs.

9. Wash your clothes in cold water

It goes without saying that cold water doesn't require energy to heat up.

  • Most detergents will do an excellent job of washing your laundry in cold water. Simply read the instructions on the bottle to get best results.

10. Take quicker showers

Who doesn't like to linger in a hot shower when the weather is frigid?

  • If possible, take a ten-minute shower (or less) instead of a bath. It uses less hot water than filling an entire tub. And most people can get themselves squeaky clean in under five minutes.
  • Buy yourself a comfy, cozy bathrobe to stay warm after you've showered. It will help shorten how much time you spend bathing.
  • If you’re really courageous and determined to reduce your heating costs, turn off the water while you soap up and shampoo your hair.

Every little bit helps

If you think these tips won’t add up to much savings, think again. When it comes to reducing heating costs, every little bit helps. And as heating represents 60 per cent of a home’s energy consumption, you have a lot to gain by making these few small changes.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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