Temperatures are starting to drop, which means it's time to switch over into winter mode.
Americans spend an average of $2,200 a year on energy bills, and nearly half of that goes directly to heating and cooling.
Keeping your house warm in the winter can be expensive, and it's not really something you can live without. Sure, you can always throw on an extra sweater, but that only goes so far.
Depending on the size of your house, and where you live, you might see your monthly gas or electric bill skyrocketing.
Luckily, there are a number of things you can do to help keep costs down.
Read on to hear our top five tips for lowering your heating bill this winter.
1. Use the Sun to Your Advantage
The warmth from the sun is a free source of energy, so make sure to use it as much as possible.
Open your curtains first thing in the morning, and keep them open all day, letting in as much light (and warmth) as possible.
As soon as the sun starts to set it's time to close them, trapping in as much heat as you can. The thicker your curtains are, the better they'll be at holding in heat, so consider investing in higher-quality material.
2. Insulate any Problem Areas
It's easy to waste energy because of poor insulation.
Do what you can to fix any spots where you're losing heat. A lit candle is a great tool for figuring out where cold air is getting in.
Use weather-stripping on doors and windows; it's cheap, easy to install, and can save you a great deal of money in the long run.
3. Keep Tabs on Your Thermostat
Remember to turn down your thermostat at night, or when you leave for the day. Stock up your bed with extra blankets so you won't get to chilly if you turn down the heat.
Getting into a daily routine and sticking to it can make a big difference in your monthly bill.
Consider investing in a programmable thermostat, which can help you keep your heating schedule on track.
4. Get Some Moisture into the Air
The air in our homes can get very dry during the winter, but moist air is actually better at holding in heat.
A small dehumidifier is a simple way to bring some moisture back into the air. It's good for the sinuses, in addition to your heating bill.
Houseplants also naturally keep more moisture in the air, so they're another smart investment.
5. Keep Your Heating System Running Smoothly
It's important to clean your filters regularly to keep your heating system in tip-top shape.
It's also recommended that you have regular maintenance done by a professional. Electric and oil heaters should be looked at every year, and gas heaters every other year.
If your heating system isn't working properly, you're going to be burning money, so keeping up with maintenance is crucial.
A Heating Bill that Doesn't Break the Bank
It takes work, but the money you save on your heating bill will be well worth it.
Figure out what steps you're going to take this winter, and stick with them.
And check back regularly with our blog for more advice on how to keep all of your heating and cooling systems running smoothly.