On average, we spend a staggering $255 per month to heat our homes! Here, heating experts reveal how to cut that cost in half.
Spot heat leaks with a ‘draft detector’.
Even the smallest of drafts can hike up your heating bill by nearly 20 percent. To find and fix these sneaky spots, just light a candle, then carefully hold it about 3″ away from doors, windows, baseboards and outlets. If the flame begins to flicker, you’ve discovered a draft — just grab a bit of caulk or foam insulation (Buy on Amazon, $8) to plug it instantly and start saving big.
Enjoy warmer air by reversing your fan.
Warm air rises, which means your ceiling is probably pretty toasty. The fix? Switch your fan’s direction so that it circles clockwise and turn it to a low setting, advises heating expert Steve Hergott, author of Healthy Harmless Home. “This simple move pushes warm air down, where you can benefit from it.” It’s easy: Most fans have a switch to change the blade direction.
Supercharge your radiator with a foil reflector.
Radiators lose up to 50 percent of their heat through the walls they stand against. The solution: Simply cover a piece of cardboard with foil and slide it between the unit and the wall. The “reflector” will bounce the heat back into the room. Also smart: “Give radiators a quick wipe-down,” says heating expert Natalie Barrett. “Dust is an insulator, making the radiator work harder to pump out heat, so wiping it down instantly makes it more effective.”
Boost furnace power by opening doors.
It’s easy to think shutting the door to the room you’re in conserves heat, but the opposite is actually true: “Free airflow helps your furnace work up to 15 percent more efficiently,” says Hergott. Keep doors open inside to give your furnace a helping hand and cut costs.
Feel cozy for pennies by spiking up humidity.
You know the summertime saying, “It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity”? It’s true, even in winter! “We feel warmer when humidity is between 40 percent and 60 percent,” says Hergott. Your humidifier, in fact, lets you turn down the thermostat five degrees, saving 15 percent on annual heating costs. No humidifier? Just boil water in a tea kettle!
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.