It’s that time of year to start cranking the heat up and, no surprise, that can hurt your pocketbook.
As temperatures drop, home heating costs are sure to be a concern for many, but there are some inexpensive things you can do reduce your energy bill and carbon footprint.
Sealing doors and windows
Winterizing your home is as simple as starting with your front door and window.
During the winter, it’s critical that your doors and windows are airtight otherwise you could be blowing money out through the cracks.
It’s estimated drafts can waste between 5 to 30 per cent of energy use.
Jermin Hsieh, Fortis B.C.’s Energy Utilization Manger, recommends installing a rubber door seal around the perimeter of your door frame and at the bottom of the door to close any gaps.
“By closing the gap there’s no way that air can enter the house as well as warm air escaping the house,” says Hsieh.
He says it’s relatively inexpensive and can be installed without professional assistance. Rubber seals typically cost anywhere from $4 to $20.
Window cracks, he says, are a common way for air to escape. Try caulking any cracks that appear between the frame of the window as well as on the window itself.
Use your gas fireplace
Before you send your thermostat in overdrive, Hsieh says if you have a natural gas fireplace, you should put it to use.
“It provides heating within a specific zone. What that allows you to do is to keep the temperature of your entire house slightly lower,” he adds.
Use your ceiling fan
You may think a ceiling fan is only good for cooling you down in the summer, but it can also be utilized for heat.
Warm air that is collected near the ceiling is circulated back into the living space.
“It allows you to distribute heat more evenly as opposed to having heat rise up to the air,” says Hsieh.
Check out power outlets
Another source where warm air can escape the house and cold air can enter is through power outlets on exterior walls.
“One way to tackle the draft from the outlet is to install insulation padding behind your outlet. That is something that anyone can do. However, when you do install them, you certainly have to make sure that you cut the power on the electrical break to make sure that you are installing it properly.”
The insulating padding can be bought at local hardware stores, and according to Hsieh, it is relatively inexpensive.
Lower the thermostat
The recommended setting of a thermostat is 20 C when you are at home. Hsieh says 17 C is ideal when you are not at home or while you are sleeping.
Setting your thermostat 3 degrees lower could end up saving you up to 15 per cent on your heating bill.
Check your furnace
Replacing or cleaning your furnace filter regularly will help maintain healthily air quality in your home and reduce your bill.
“Like with your car,” says Hsieh, “you want to make sure it receives a regular inspection and service.”
READ MORE: What you need to know about furnace filters
When a filter is clogged, the system can’t run efficiently. During the heating season, Hsieh says check the filter once a month and then clean and replace it as necessary.