Prices for heating a home seem to increase every year due to rising prices for heating oil and natural gas. Instead of hopping for prices to decrease in the future steps can be taken today to make your home more energy efficient. With minor modifications to behavior and installing a few energy saving devices from a local hardware store you can significantly reduce home heating costs.
Making a couple living adjustments will have an immediate impact on heating costs. Turning down the thermostat during the day from five to ten degrees can save between five and fifteen percent on the gas bill. This may require the purchase of an electronic thermostat if you currently have a manual version. The benefit is that you are not heating the home at what would be considered a comfortable level when no one is there to appreciate it. Along those same lines is if you have a four bedroom home but two of the rooms are never used, maybe the kids have gone to college, then closing the vents in those rooms would mean more hot air goes to rooms that are used day to day.
Heating living spaces which are actually used daily is important but just as important is keeping the cold outside and the heat inside. This might sound like common sense but there can be substantial heat loss due to poor insulation and holes in the thermal barrier. Consider purchasing a temperature detecting infrared thermometer which uses a laser to pin point specific areas of heat loss like around windows and electrical outlets. It might be surprising the large number of areas that may be losing heat to the outside and driving up heating costs. These areas can be easily repaired using expansion foam and installing new weather stripping around doors and windows.
Homes with eight foot ceilings may not benefit as much but homes with nine to twelve foot ceilings would see more comfortable living conditions by installing ceiling fans. By incorporating ceiling fans, especially in living spaces, better air flow results which will circulate hot air that has risen to the ceiling. It will also help alleviate colder air from collecting on the ground which cools hands and feet making for losses in body heat. A couple of forty dollar ceiling fans can go along way to heating more area with less usage.
While less glamorous but much more realistic is simply wear more clothes. You might be surprised by the number of people who want to wear shorts and t-shirts in the dead of winter. By throwing on a sweater or wool socks you can go from feeling cold all the time to feeling comfortable. This applies even more so when living with others with dramatically different core body temperatures. If there are four people but one is cold all the time don't turn up the temperature, tell them to put on some socks and a sweater. These slight adjustments in behavior may mean using the heater a lot less than normal and saving on heating costs.
If you are having a home built or remodeled consider installing radiant floor heating or providing a place for a pellet stove. It might also be worth considering going with 2 x 6 construction and more south facing windows. These suggestions will add to construction costs but could lead to dramatically lower heating bill over ten to fifteen years of occupying a residence. Numerous additional costs saving features can be included in new of remodeled construction so consult with an architect or licensed builder if these features are important for you.
Lowering your home heating costs can be done for no money by altering current behaviors or for thousands of dollars by installing radiant floor heating. The key to reducing heating costs is taking proactive steps in identifying areas of heat loss and working within existing limitations of space or budget. Maybe installing ceiling fans is more realistic than a pellet stove. It doesn't take much to start seeing significant savings to heat you home. Hundreds of dollars are wasted every year heating the outside but that money could be put to better uses by making some minor changes to your current living situation.