Today, I have easy tips for you to cut your heating bill by 20 percent or more. None require more than 30 minutes of work. Sound good?
You will need to purchase a few inexpensive supplies, all of which are readily available online or at your local home improvement center. But don't worry; you will quickly recoup those costs in lower heating bills.
REPLACE WORN WEATHERSTRIPPING
Open an outside door and look at that piece of plastic molding or strip of foam rubber that runs across the top and down both sides of doors, and all the way around windows, designed to seal the air gap once closed. Is it torn, shredded, missing, allowing a small draft or otherwise not doing its job? Replace as necessary.
Weatherstripping is available online or at any home improvement center and comes with sticky-back adhesive, which makes it a cinch to install.
Look under your front door and any other outside doors. See any daylight? That's where precious warmed air is being sucked out into the cold. You may be able to adjust the threshold to close this gap. Look for four or five screws that, when loosened, will allow you to adjust the threshold height.
If that doesn't work, you may need to replace it in order to get rid of all the daylight.
Identify every electrical outlet box on the exterior walls of your home. Take off the outlet covers to see whether the air gaps behind are all filled with insulation. Whoops. There goes more warmed air! You can fill these gaps with acrylic latex caulk. But I wouldn't bother with that mess.
Instead, you can buy ready-made rubber gaskets online. I've seen them in a two-pack for about $1.50 at my local home improvement center.
If your home is large and you're only occupying parts of it at a time, invest in a good space heater so you can turn down the thermostat to an otherwise much-too-chilly level. To keep a small area of your home warm, take a look at a good infrared heater that uses very little electricity, using the wonder of infrared rays that heat surfaces, not the surrounding air.
Experts tell us that the surface of your windows accounts for 25 percent of the home's heat loss. Simply covering the windows and patio doors with clear plastic film can cut the loss significantly. Transparent film is inexpensive. It comes in sheets that you apply yourself using a regular hair dryer.
FILL THE FLUE
If you have a typical wood-burning fireplace, that chimney space is a big, nasty energy thief whenever the fireplace is not in use. Get into the habit of closing that flue between uses.
If you rarely use the fireplace, consider an inflatable chimney balloon. You can get one for about $50, and it can be reused. You just inflate it inside the chimney and it fills up the space. Deflate it to use the fireplace.
I've suggested this to you before. Now I am pleading with you to get one of these amazing pieces of technology. Just program it to meet your comfort needs, and then forget it. It will look after your heating costs. Programmable thermostats range from as low as $40 for the amazing Orbit Clear Comfort Thermostat.
Sealing your home as tightly as possible is the secret to cutting the cost of keeping it warm. Do it now and you'll get a big bonus come summer: It will cost less to keep it cool, too.