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As the weather begins to shift towards cooler temperatures, many homeowners find their heating costs creeping up as well. Although regular maintenance such as HVAC duct cleaning and changing filters will help keep HVAC units operating efficiently, there are some simple, low-cost ways that you can reduce your need for heat and lower your energy costs. Staying cozy and comfortable when the weather is at its coldest can be a little more affordable if you take a few steps to reduce your fuel consumption. Any action you take that allows you to set your thermostat back by 1° will save between 1 and 3 percent of your annual heating costs.

  • Add more covers to your bed. There are lots of thermal and fleece blankets on the market today, designed to hold in body heat. Top your cover off with a down or synthetic comforter. Turn down the thermostat by several degrees at night and sleep more comfortably without drying out nasal passages.
  • If you have a ceiling fan with a reverse setting, use it to distribute the heat that normally stays at the ceiling. This can result in significant savings.
  • Use insulated drapes and keep them closed at night to hold the heat inside. Leave them open during the day to let sunlight in.
  • Reduce the setting on your hot water heater by 20 degrees. This is enough to make a difference in the energy use, but not enough to interfere with your water use.
  • Wear more clothing. Going barefoot and wearing shorts might be more comfortable to you, but it will also take more to keep you warm. Stick with flannel PJs and fuzzy socks to keep you warm instead of turning up the heat. Also, a fleecy blanket to snuggle under while you watch TV will keep you warm and comfy.
  • Invest in a programmable thermostat. Get one that is good quality and easy to set according to your household schedule. Between turning down the temperature at night and while you are out of the house, you can cut down your energy use by a great deal. Don’t worry that heating the house up right before you come home will take too much energy. That is just a myth.
  • Keep your furnace operating optimally. Heating and air conditioning companies offer regular maintenance plans that ensure your heating system runs more efficiently. All types of furnaces need regular maintenance, in addition to changing filters, and this should be handled by a professional.
  • Make sure all of the heating vents are unobstructed by furniture, curtains, or any other items. Close vents in rooms that aren’t used.
  • Consider alternative heat sources in rooms where less heat is available, such as rooms farther from the furnace or those that have been built-on later.
  • Keep vent use in the kitchen and bathrooms at a minimum. They can remove heated air and take it outside.

No one wants to spend their time at home being cold. Taking some steps to optimize your furnace operation and take some of the demand off of your furnace will help keep you warm and cozy for less.