This post originally appeared on ImproveNet.
More often than not, a homeowner’s gas bill will cost more than their electric bill, requiring all of us to squeeze those extra pennies during the winter. Believe it or not, there are numerous ways homeowners can keep their houses warm, decrease their gas bills and not spend a fortune doing it. Below are our five easy DIY tips to decrease your natural gas bills during the winter.
1. Turn Down Your Home Thermostat
It may seem so obvious, but the most effective way to lower your gas bill is to turn down your thermostat. We are not advocating you live in a frozen tundra, but a few degrees will not kill you. In fact, according to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), the rule of thumb is that you can save about 3% on your gas bill for every degree you decrease on the thermostat. Furthermore, ACEEE says that if you turn it down 10 degrees when you go to work and at night (for at least 16 hours a day), you can save about 14%.
Better yet, for those of us who have a shaky memory, think about installing programmable thermostats where you can set the times to decrease or increase the heat. This way, you won’t have to adjust it every time you enter and leave the home.
2. Start Insulating Your Windows
As I noted in my recent article on winterizing your home, one of the best ways to prevent hot air from leaving your home is by caulking all your windows and doors. Did you know, there are other tactics you can apply to keep hot air from leaving?
By adding insulation film to windows, where vision outside is not too important, you are further insulating your home. These plastic films are very inexpensive and easy to apply to any window. They will certainly curb drafts and could lower your heating bills by as much as 14%.
3. Use the Sun
Sticking with the window theme, use the most powerful heating source we all have, better known as the sun. Believe it or not, the sun can provide ample heat to rooms it is facing. It is the purest form of a natural resource we have and probably the easiest method to winterize your home. Make sure you open your shades when the sun is out and close them at night.
Even during the day, you will most likely be using your thermostat, but with the sun shining right into your living room or kitchen, feel free to decrease the temperature, saving you even more cash on your heating bill.
4. Decrease Water Temperature
Most homeowners may not know this, but your thermostats have internal temperatures that are preset when you purchase them. Most manufacturers preset their product at 140 degrees Fahrenheit. However, as is a theme in this article, many homeowners do not absolutely need their water temperature that high. Most homeowners will do just fine if they lower it to 120 degrees. Some may notice the change in the shower, but most will not. If you need more convincing on this winterizing tactic, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, you can lower your energy costs by 3-5% if you lower your water temperature by 10 degrees.
5. Adjust the Fireplace
Finally, another terrific source of heat is your fireplace. You put the fireplace in for a reason, so you might as well start using it. Nonetheless, like windows and doors, the fireplace is another route heat generally takes to leave the home. Make sure you shut the fireplace damper and seal the opening when you are not using it.
Think of the damper like an extra window. You wouldn’t leave a window open in the winter while your heat is on, right? If you are interested in installing your first fireplace, be sure to view our fireplace & chimney cost estimator.
Other Quick Tips
- Reverse the ceiling fan rotation
- Make sure your vents are not covered when the heat is on.
- Buy door swaps ($3-$10) to place under your doors
- Use exhaust fans sparingly as these tend to suck hot air out of your home
Are you content with your heating bill? For more tips, check out How to Keep Your House Warm During the Winter.