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  • Easy ways to cut your heating bill this winter


    Published November 19, 2012
    Easy ways to cut your heating bill this winter
    Tip: Close windows and blinds to add an extra layer that will seal in heat.

    Canadian winters can be brutal. And our cold and snowy season may also prove to be a pinch on your bank account.

    As the temperatures drop, your central heating bill generally sees a significant spike. But by following a few tips, you can easily keep the winter blues from striking your wallet.

    Tame the temperatures
    If you have a central thermostat controlling the heat in your entire home, the first step to cutting your heating bill is to lower the setting on your thermostat. By turning down the temperature setting a few notches, you can shave off five to 10 per cent of your heating bill alone.

    Once you set an optimal room temperature, leave it there. Turning the thermostat up and down constantly keeps the heat running regularly, expending more energy which leads to driving up your bill.

    If you’re going away for a holiday, turn your thermostat even lower. Yes, it’ll be chilly when you return, but you’ll save a bundle while you’re away. It’s also wise to consider lowering the temperature an extra degree or two just before you leave for work in the mornings.

    Also consider investing in a programmable thermostat. They usually cost between $30 and $100, but you can offset the initial costs in the savings from your heating bill. You can set up a predetermined schedule for the thermostat to adjust down several degrees while you’re at work and back up again just before you return home. That way, you won’t have to adjust it manually.

    If you have access to your water heater, consider turning down the temperature on it as well. It likely won’t be noticeable if you turn the temperature on the heater down by a few degrees, but again, a few degrees can equal big savings on your bill each month.

    An ounce of prevention
    A little prevention can really cut down your bill also. First, make sure you perform regular maintenance on your heating unit. Call a professional to come check the unit at least once a year to ensure it’s running at it maximum efficiency. A well-maintained unit will keep your heat output (and bills) consistent.

    As for something you can do yourself: Keep a check on the unit’s filters. It’s recommended you change dirty filters every six to 12 months, depending on the make and model of your unit.

    In addition to keeping your heating unit in tip-top shape, make sure your home’s insulation is in good condition. One of the primary ways to lower your heating bill is to ensure the heat you are using doesn’t escape. There’s several easy ways to accomplish that.

    First, close your windows and blinds when it’s dark outside. The extra layer over your glass panes keeps the heat indoors and the cold outdoors.

    Call in a professional to check the insulation levels in your walls. If there isn’t sufficient insulation, heat could be leaking through the walls, driving up your energy costs. While it might be a high initial investment to upgrade your insulation, it could pay off in the long run.

    Also make sure there’s no heat escaping in cracks around windows and doors. Inspect the caulking sealing the windows to ensure there are no checks and ensure there’s no space under doors. It may also be worth upgrading your windows to double-paned versions, as they retain heat better than single-pane windows.

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