The cost of heat has been steadily increasing year-over-year. According to Massachusetts’s government website, for example, a resident could expect to spend $846 heating their home with natural gas during the 2017-2018 winter season—a 13 percent jump from the previous year. Electric heating jumped 17 percent, to $738.
This year looks to be even worse. With world oil prices at a four-year high, crude oil prices could jump to an average of $73 or $74 a barrel. While The Energy Information Administration hasn’t officially released their outlook on this year’s winter, we guarantee you that’s not good news for those who like to keep warm during the winter.
So we looked into some simple ways to insulate your home this season that can help keep the utility bill down. Here are a few simple ideas to keep that heating bill down. Stay warm, friends.
Block the Cold
Cold air comes in in all sorts of unexpected ways — including your windows. So put a stop to it. “Invest in thermal or blackout curtains to block out the cold,” says Adam Helfman, a home improvement expert with Hire it Done. These sorts of curtains can be readily found online (We like these Thermal Curtain Panels from Wayfair) One thing to remember: the thicker the better.
Trim the Yard
In the dead of winter, we can sometimes forget that the sun is our friend. You want to let as much sushine in as possible. According to Helfman, one of the best ways to do this is to tend your yard. “Clear landscaping and overhanging trees,” he suggests. Bonus: a tree won’t fall on your house.
Invest in Rugs
We get it, you have nice hardwood floors — but you might regret them a little bit once winter comes around. Helfman suggests a generous helping of rugs, which will trap heat and prevent it from leaving your rooms. “If you have hardwood floors, or even if you have carpet, lay down lots of area rugs,” Helfman says. “They are not conductive like most hard surfaces and will let less heat escape through the floor.”
Close the Door
This is a basic one, but deserves a loud shout for those in the back: Close the door! Doors that are open even a crack let cold air circulate in — and let heat escape — a room. “Keep doors closed to room you don’t use often,” Helfman advises. We’d add even if you are using the room, shut it.
Mind Your Openings
If it’s open—and we’re not just talking doors—close it. Check for small gaps in window frames or beneath your doors. Closing these off keeps the warm air in, and the cold air out. “Weather strip and caulk absolutely every opening,” suggests Helfman.
Throw in the Towel (And Throw Pillows)
Those throw pillows you hate so much? Well, we’ve found a use for them. “Use pillows and towels for insulating windows and doors,” says Helfman. He also suggests paying attention to such things as the chimney, whole house fan, bathroom fan, and your electrical outlets. All of them are prone to drafts and will need proper foam or insulation. This sort of insulation is readily available online at an accessible cost, one that will save you money in heating bills.
Don’t Forget Your Fan
With a simple tweak your ceiling fan can become a heating machine. “Heat rises,” says Helfman, “so reverse your ceiling fan. Reversing your ceiling fan will push the warm air back down into the room.” To do this, simply take out the motor from your fan and locate the direction switch. Flip that bad boy, re-install, step down, and turn on.