24 Tips for Reducing Your Heating Bill

Heating your house can be a large part of your monthly budget. You don’t want to break the bank but you do want to make sure you and your family and comfortable during the cold Canadian winters. A balance can be hard to find so here are some easy tips you can implement in your home to take the edge off your heating budget while staying cosy while the winter weather lasts.

  1. Check your house for drafts
    Particularly around windows and doors, to see if heat may be escaping. Install weather stripping on doors and clear plastic on windows if needed.
  2. Check your furnace flame.
    An oil heat flame should burn blue, if it’s orange it may indicate it’s time to have your furnace checked over by a technician to make sure it’s working optimally.
  3. How well is your home insulated?
    Here’s a good trick to find out. Next time it snows take a look at your roof. Does the snow melt or stay? If the snow stays then your roof is well insulated. If it melts from underneath you’re losing heat.
  4. Bundle Up!
    Heat yourself first and then the house. Try bundling up with warm socks, sweaters and blankets before turning up the heat. Then you can leave the thermostat at a lower temperature while still feeling comfortable.
  5. Don’t heat a sleeping house.
    The same as an empty house you don’t need to crank the heat when you’re in bed wrapped up in blankets. Turn the heat down before you hit the hay to save.
  6. Rebates!
    Nova Scotia has a few options for home heating rebates. Low-income renters and homeowners may qualify for the heating assistance rebate available from the government between October and March each year. Other homeowners can look at Efficiency Nova Scotia for rebates for heating system updates and other efficiency upgrades that could save you money!
  7. Increase the humidity in your home!
    Humid air holds more heat than dry air but some heating systems, particularly forced air systems, along with colder temperatures in the winter can really dry out the air in your home making it feel cooler too. Adding a humidifier to your home heating system could help reduce your heating costs.
  8. Check your pipes!
    The area around the pipe where it enters your home is often overlooked by contractors. Fill in any gaps with foam or caulk. Not only does this help keep the heat in it also can prevent pests!
  9. Automate your heat
    A programmable thermostat can automate when the heat is turned up and down in your house so you won’t forget to turn it down when you go to bed or leave for the day.
  10. Don’t over ventilate
    Those bathroom and kitchen fans are great for ventilation but in just sixty minutes they can pull out the majority of the heat in your house and leave you freezing.
  11. Energy Efficient Furnaces
    Is it time to replace your furnace? Consider investing in a newer energy efficient furnace, which can reach up for 97% efficiency rates. It will save you money in the long term! Many Nova Scotian cities and towns offer rebates or special financing to households who want to upgrade their heating equipment.
  12. Use free heat from the sun
    Close your curtains at night to keep the heat in and open them during the day to take advantage of warmth from the sun coming in through the windows. North facing windows can be left covered all day since they won’t be in the direct line of the sun.
  13. Close the ducts in uninsulated areas of your home.
    Particularly in the attic, basement or garage. This should prevent heat from escaping into places where it’s not needed. Also check the ducts at the joint areas to make sure they’re not letting warm air out, if you find a small hole or weak area you can seal it with foil tape.
  14. Check your electrical outlets!
    Even the smallest holes can let in cool air. Can you feel a draft coming through or does the cover feel cold? If so, remove the cover and fill any gaps around the outside of the box with caulking and get a foam gasket for insulating outlets from your local hardware store.
  15. Seal up your windows!
    Consider using heat-shrink plastic on windows in the winter to help keep the heat inside where it’s most needed!
  16. Maintain your furnace
    A clean furnace is an efficient furnace. Have your furnace inspected and cleaned at least once a year to keep it working efficiently.
  17. Embrace the cozy aesthetic!
    Invest in some warm blankets, flannel sheets, rugs for the floor, and thicker curtains for the windows so you can keep the temperature lower in your home but still be comfortable. An electric blanket is a great lower energy way to keep warm!
  18. Change your furnace filters.
    If your filters are clogged that may mean your furnace isn’t working as efficiently as it should, costing you more money on heating. Make sure to have a technician clean or replace your filters at least once a year.
  19. Don’t heat an empty house.
    Even if you have pets their fur coats will keep them warm. You can safely turn down the heat to 15 degrees when you’re not home.
  20. Check your vents!
    If you have a heating system that uses vents throughout your home but you’re finding it’s still cold make sure they are clean and clear or objects or furniture so the heat can get where it needs to be.
  21. Ceiling fans aren’t just for the summer.
    Heat rises and a fan can help push it back down to your level to keep you warm.
  22. Fireplace escape hatch
    Have a fireplace? Don’t forget to close the flue when it’s not in use to keep heat from escaping up the chimney.
  23. Don’t heat rooms you’re not using
    Turn down the heat in unused rooms and close them off to keep the heat where you need it most.
  24. Kitchen trick
    Baking or roasting something in the oven? Leave the oven door open after you’re done for an extra blast of heat in the kitchen. Holiday baking will not only give you yummy treats but also a little saved on your next heating bill!

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