Unless you live on or near the equator, heating your home is an essential and inescapable expense every winter. Rather than just accepting this as an annual punch to your wallet, here are some actionable methods to raise heat and lower your utility bills during the cold months.
Start by Filling Up the Gaps
One of the major utility expenses many Canadians face is heating and cooling their home. You’ve spent lots of money keeping your house warm and cozy, so the last thing you want to do is let all of that heat seep out.
Warmed air can easily leak out from power sockets, poorly sealed door and window frames, recessed light fixtures, and other gaps in your home. An additional discomfort is the cool drafts you can feel when the winter wind blows through those gaps.
Utilize foam strips, caulk, or expanding foam to seal up those unwanted holes. While ventilation within any home is important, you can control it.
The Importance of Insulation
If you live in a contemporary and well-constructed house, the floors, ceiling, walls, and roof will already contain insulation materials.
Typically, constructors use low-cost expanded polystyrene (EPS) or fibreglass to insulate homes. But many other kinds of insulation are available, including sheep’s wool and NASA-style metallic “multi-foil.”
As an affordable option to your home, add an extra layer of insulation by using mineral wool in your attic. If you have single-glazed windows, stick transparent polythene film onto the internal frame to act as super-low-budget double-glazing.
Inspecting Your Bills for Errors
It’s critical that you always give all of your bills a once-over, even if you have the payments automatically deducted from your accounts electronically. This ensures that you’re aware of what you are being charged for.
Use Sunlight for Free Heat
That bright orb in the sky should be used as a focus for temperature control in your residence all year long.
Open the curtains on your south-facing windows during crisp winter days to draw free heat into your home. When the sun sinks, close the blinds to keep the heat inside.
Get, Set, and Forget Thermostats
Thermostats are self-regulating devices that keep homes at a constant temperature. Though this is a simple concept, many people still fiddle with them. If you have room thermostats, decide what temperature you want for every room, set them, then let them be. They have one task to do, so let them do it.
If you have not upgraded to a programmable or smart thermostat, this is the time to do so. These devices can automatically lower the heat in the house when you’re at work or asleep, saving you tons of cash on energy costs.
Put a Damper on Your Damper
If you have a fireplace in your house, make sure that the damper is closed tightly when not in use to prevent heat loss. It’s also important to get your chimney thoroughly inspected by professionals every couple of years.
Inspect Your Filters
This tip is for homes that use forced-air heating. If you get the system professionally serviced, the filter replacement should be included. For optimum effectiveness, replace the filter every couple of months.
To do this, turn off your furnace first. Remove the existing filter, which is situated just inside the furnace or return air vent. Take note of the filter size. This is printed on the cardboard frame. Buy a replacement filter from a home improvement or hardware store, or online.
Once you have the new filter handy, slide it into place. Check for the markings that will tell you which side of the filter should be facing your furnace. Jot down the date you replaced the filter so you know when it’s time to replace it again. Replace any cover that goes over the filter too.
This is also the proper time to ensure that the warm-air registers throughout your house are not blocked by any furniture. This makes the system operate less effectively and, in turn, will increase your heating bill.
Decrease Your Water Heater
Water has a huge specific heat capacity. It doesn’t warm up quickly, so you have to input a lot of energy to force it to. On the upside, it also takes a long time for water to cool down, so it can be an efficient energy storage medium.
To decrease the amount of energy used to heat up stubborn water, turn down your water heater. Many are factory-set, and reducing the temperature can save you a bundle of cash.
Force Warm Air Down
Denser, cooler air stays close to ground level, while warmer air rises. All of that cozy air is not much use when it’s floating up near your ceiling, so force it downwards using a low-speed fan.
Reverse the fan’s settings so it sends warm air upwards, as this will distribute it back down the walls to mix with the cooler air that’s below, gradually raising the ambient temperature of your home.
Use Waste Heat
Some items in your home may generate a lot of “waste heat” during normal operations. This can include your laptop or gaming device. Position these items where you can best utilize the thermal energy they generate to help warm your room.
Get Your Furnace Checked
Furnaces can fail for a variety of reasons, leaving you out in the cold during a harsh Canadian winter. It’s critical to get your furnace inspected by a professional technician to make sure that it is working properly.
Work Your Body
Exercising can raise your internal body temperature by burning calories with heat more quickly. Your body changes energy from food into the “energy currency” known as adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which enables you to maintain a normal body temperature of 37°C. The energy-producing chemical reactions in your body make heat, and they react more when you are working out, raising your internal temperature above normal levels.
There are a number of ways to lower your energy bills this winter. From exercising to changing your filter, they are all doable and can save you lots of money