How to lower your heating bill
By Lylah M. Alphonse of Write. Edit. Repeat.
Where I live, in New England, home-heating costs are past “high” and approaching “WTF” levels, even though fuel prices have come down since the summer. I’ve made it my mission to whittle that heating bill down as much as possible. You, too, can lower your heating bill by following these five easy steps, none of which are “cover the windows in plastic,” “buy adult-size footie pajamas,” or “re-upholster the couch in fleece.”
1. Check the electrical outlets.
It goes without saying that you’ve caulked the gaps along your window sills and pressed weather stripping against the edges of your doors, right? Now, check your electrical outlets — after all, they’re basically holes in your walls with wires poking through and plenty of space for cold air to seep in from outside. (Don’t seal them with caulk, though; pick up a package of fire-retardant foam outlet sealers at the hardware store and slip them behind the face plates).
2. Pull the furniture away from the walls.
There’s no reason why the chest of drawers or the couch should hoard the heat coming from your baseboards.
3. Don’t fire up the fireplace.
That cozy fire is making the house nice and toasty, right? Wrong. An open fireplace actually ends up sucking warm air out of the room and up the chimney. Use only in case of extreme roasted-marshmallow cravings
4. Do turn on the fans.
It seems counter-intuitive — aren’t fans are for cooling off, not heating up? Well… sort of. Heat rises, so you can use your ceiling fans to help push that warm air back down to the parts of the room that really need it.
5. Get cozy in bed.
I’m talking about heavy blankets, down comforters, flannel sheets, and hot water bottles at your feet. But yeah, that’s a good idea, too!
Published December 22, 2008.
Last updated August 21, 2013.