As Canada’s northernmost big city, Edmonton winters can be long and cold. The cold doesn’t have to kill your pocketbook though. Here are some of our best tips to save money on your heating bills in the winter.
Install ceiling fans to circulate the warm air throughout the room
Running your fan to pull air up through the centre of the room will also push the warm air back down on the sides. It will also stop the warm air from accumulating at the top of the room and the cool air from settling on the bottom. It also forces the cool and warm air to mix making the room temperature uniform.
Don’t forget the hot water tank
Your hot water tank has heat settings that can be adjusted. A general rule is that you save 3-5% for each 10°F you lower your heat setting. Dial back the setting from the factory default of 140°F to 120°F and save 6-10% off your heating bill. For even greater savings look into hot water on demand systems. These cost more to install, but they can use 24-34% less energy to operate compared to a hot water tank. You can also use low-flow showerheads, faucet aerators or put a heat blanket around the hot water tank and insulate the hot water pipes to save even more.
Turn the temperature down at night for health and savings
First of all, you will save money on your energy bills by turning down the temperature when you sleep. Each 1℃ drop in temperature results in an energy savings of 1-3%. Drop your thermostat temperature by 5.5℃ and save up to 10-15%.
But you also benefit from this in a few other ways. Studies show that sleeping in cooler rooms helps your core temperature to cool more efficiently leading to higher quality sleep. Suggested ambient temperatures are between 15.5°C (60°F) and 19.5°C (67°F), but it can vary a lot among individuals. It has also been found to promote melatonin production, enhancing beige fat cell production which is linked to fat loss.
Replace your air filter
The biggest culprit for sucking energy efficiency from your furnace is a clogged air filter. It is recommended to replace these monthly. They are cheap and can be found at Wal-Mart or most other department stores. Go online and buy them in bulk through sites like Amazon.
Wear warmer clothes in the house
You can save up to an additional 10% off your monthly bill by keeping your thermostat to 16℃ vs 21℃ for 8 hours a day and simply wearing warmer clothes while you are at home. It is pretty easy to wear a sweater, some thicker socks and some sweats to save 10% off your heating bill. Combine this with keeping it low while you are sleeping and while you are away and you could be saving upwards of 30% off your heating costs.
Keep doors and vents closed in unused rooms
Closing the heat vents in unused rooms will increase the airflow for other rooms and make it easier and quicker to heat them. Combine this with keeping the doors to the unused rooms shut and you won’t have the cold air from those rooms mixing with the warm air in the rest of your house. Be careful with this one though – it works best with zoned duct systems with variable speed furnaces.
Install a programmable thermostat
This is one of the best ways to save money on your energy bill. Program your thermostat to fluctuate the temperature based on when you are home, when you are sleeping, and when you are gone. Take it a step further and get a smart thermostat like the Nest that learns your habits and self-adjusts for you. Save upwards of 30% with this nifty tool.
Turn the temperature down when you leave the house
There is no need to heat your home while no one is in it. Turning down the temperature to 16℃ can save up to 10% off your monthly heating bill. Turn it down while you sleep at night and save up to 20%.
Check the insulation in your attic
Hot air rises, but it will happen even more quickly if you attic is not properly insulated. Don’t forget to insulate the openings into your attic, especially the access door. Typical 1200 sqft houses will cost about $800 to insulate but could cut your monthly bill by 20-30%.
Check the insulation of your windows and doors
Your windows are a huge energy loss culprit. If you have single pane windows then you are definitely losing a lot of heat. Newer windows insert a layer of inert gas between two or even three panes of glass to stop the heat transfer. This is the best way to stop the loss. Although new windows are going to be quite expensive, the cost savings on your energy bill can be anywhere from 16-21%. A quick and cheap solution to assist your single pane windows from losing heat is to install clear plastic sheeting over top of them and create your own “double pane” type system.
For your doors, check the weatherstripping around the edges and add or replace as necessary.
If your furnace is old and inefficient, consider replacing it
Furnaces made after 1996 have become much more efficient than their older models. If your furnace is old and the efficiency rating is not at least 90%, it is advisable to look into a new one.
Air with low humidity will not hold as much heat so if the humidity in your home is too low your furnace needs to work harder to heat the room. It is recommended to keep your indoor humidity level at 45-55% during winter months.
Use exhaust fans sparingly
Exhaust fans in your bathrooms and the kitchen will suck the warm air out of your house. While you likely won’t leave them on for long when you use them, be mindful when you do as they are drawing the warm air out of your house for as long as they are on.
Use cooking to your advantage
If you are cooking with your oven then why not use it to add a little heat to your house. When you are done cooking, leave the oven door open a bit. and give the surroundings a little heat boost while you are at it. More frequent cookers will benefit most from this trick. Don’t do this with small children around.
Use the sun for free heat
Open the curtains on your sun facing windows while the sun is shining and cover them back up when the sun goes down.
Do you need some advice about saving on your heating bill in the winter? Leave us a message at (587) 773-2612 and we will get back to you as soon as possible, or call (780) 231-0064 if you need to speak to someone immediately. To schedule an appointment, pick your preferred time on our online booking page.