One of the best ways to free up room in your budget to pay down debt is to trim your expenses. There are plenty of ways to trim your budget, but one often overlooked method is to reduce your utility costs. Home heating makes up 42% of your home’s overall energy use, and drain your finances unnecessarily. Especially here in Canada, where we rely on home heating a little more than the average North American, home heating is something many of us consider a necessary evil.
The idea that you can’t affect your heating costs is just plain wrong. In reality, your home heating costs are closely tied to how quickly heat leaves your home. Once you start thinking about ways to reduce your home’s heat loss, it is easy to save 10 – 15% on your heating costs, even if you are a renter without the ability to upgrade your heating system. Here are my tried and true methods for decreasing heating costs.
Saving money on heating costs starts with eliminating ways for heat to escape from your home. That means sealing up drafts and gaps in your home. For windows, a $10 tube of caulk can seal up air drafts and gaps around window frames and door frames. Make sure to get the type specifically for windows and doors, and your landlord will probably want you to purchase the type that you can paint. There are many tutorials available online that will show you how to master the art of caulking around windows and doors. On top of caulking, consider Installing weather stripping around your doors will also eliminate hot air that leaks out under the doors of your home. If you don’t want to splurge on weather stripping, stuffing a towel into the gap will slow heat leakage slightly.
Finally, take the faceplates off your electrical outlets that are located on exterior walls and install insulation pads over each one. These insulation pads will decrease the amount of air that escapes around the outlet and out of your home. Do not DIY this step – purchase the outlet insulation kits available at your home hardware store that are specialized for this purchase.
Turn the Thermostat Down
If you control your home’s heat with a thermostat, turn it down by several degrees at night and when you aren’t home. There’s no point in heating your home if you aren’t in it or if you are sleeping! Personally, I turn my home’s heat down to 19 degrees overnight and 16 when I’m away for the weekend.
If you want to take it one step further, a smart thermostat will allow you to set up a schedule and turn the heat up or down automatically, so you’ll never forget! You can even control a smart thermostat with your iPhone, so if you’re like me and you constantly forget to turn the heat down, you can now do so remotely.
Reverse Your Ceiling Fans
What goes up, must come down, most of the time. The one exception for is heat. Heat always rises to the ceiling which also happens to be the last place that we need it. To help combat this, you can reverse your ceiling fan. By reversing your ceiling fan, the fan will push the heat back down into the room and where it will keep you warm, instead of eventually leaking out of your home through your ceiling and attic.
Layer, Layer, Layer!
Layering is the easiest way to keep the temperature low in your home while staying comfortable. Layer rugs onto the floor to get rid of the discomfort of cold floors, swap your sheets out for heat-trapping flannel sheets, and put on a sweater and cozy wool socks. There’s nothing like an evening curled up in front of the television under a heap of blankets to keep out the winter chill.
Photo Credit: Stephen Butler