It’s still warm out, but the heating season is approaching. Oil, gas, and electricity are all more expensive now, but there are many easy, cost-effective ways to keep your heating costs down without sacrificing comfort — and the first three are free:
- Raise the shades on your south-facing windows when the sun is out for solar heat gain.
- To the extent that it’s practical, keep furniture away from radiators/baseboards/vents.
- Lower your thermostat. The Department of Energy said setting it to 68 degrees while you’re home and 7 to 10 degrees lower when you’re asleep or away can lower your heating bills as much as 10 percent.
- If you have a forced-hot air furnace, be sure to replace the air filter at least twice a year. This will improve both the air quality in your home and the efficiency of your heating system.
- Insulate exposed heating pipes. This will minimize heat loss into unconditioned areas like basements and crawl spaces.
- Address drafty doors and windows, which can be big sources of heat loss. “This Old House” can show you how to make them weathertight.
- Insulate attic/crawl space floors, basement ceilings, and exterior walls, and air seal any sources of leaks, such as cracks and gaps and holes created for recessed lighting, vents, pipes, and more. The cost varies widely, but the investment pays dividends in lower heating bills for as long as you live there.