When winter rolls around, everyone starts thinking about their energy bills and how to reduce them. The common tips that float around are, "turn down your thermostat and wear more clothes, "add more insulation to your attic," and "seal your windows with plastic." If you've already followed this sage, yet common advice, but your energy bill is still higher than you'd like it to be, it's time to get extreme. Here are a few energy-saving tips you probably have never thought of before. Some are a bit more challenging than others, but if you're desperate, they could be just what you need to bring that fuel bill down.
Rearrange your furniture.
Do you have any tall bookshelves or dressers that are full of books or clothing? Move them against your exterior walls for the winter. They'll serve as an extra insulating barrier, keeping the cold from transferring through the wall. Also, move the furniture you sit on, such as your sofa and plush chairs, into the centers of rooms. This way, you won't feel the chill coming off of walls when sitting, and you can probably turn your thermostat down an additional degree or two without feeling uncomfortable.
Hang more artwork on exterior walls.
Even large, framed art provides an extra layer of insulation for your walls. If you don't have any large paintings to hang, visit your local thrift store and purchase the biggest, thickest ones you can find. Your home decor may not be the most coordinated in the coming months, but at least your energy bills will be lower.
Block off a few rooms in your home.
The smaller the area your furnace needs to heat, the less often it will need to kick on. If there are rooms in your home that you don't use, close the heat vents in those rooms. Take anything you need out of the rooms, close the doors, and don't go back in there until spring. You can even cover the doors in thick blankets and curtains to keep the chilliness from entering the rest of your home.
Replace your furnace filters.
Most people think of replacing their furnace filter as a way of reducing allergens in their home. In fact, it also keeps your furnace in good working order and reduces the energy it requires to keep your home warm. When your furnace is being bombarded with debris and having to send air through dirty ducts, you're wasting energy. Basic furnace filters are only a dollar or two at most hardware stores. Replace yours every month, or even every two weeks, to keep your furnace running as efficiently as possible.
You should also have your furnace looked over once per year by an HVAC specialist to ensure everything is working properly. A minor malfunction may cause your furnace to consume extra fuel.
Spend less time at home.
Keep in mind that for every degree you turn your thermostat down, you'll save about 2% of your energy bill. Hopefully you already have your thermostat programmed to keep your home at a lower temperature when you're not around. If you spend less time at home, you can keep your thermostat at this lower temperature for a greater portion of the day.
Consider staying at work for a few extra hours to work on personal endeavors. Go to the library, where heat is free, rather than turning up your thermostat to work from home. Be creative in finding ways to get out of the house so you can keep it cooler.
If you live with other people, saving on your heating bill will need to be a collaborative effort. Make sure everyone is on board and works together to make your house more energy-efficient and find ways to keep that thermostat turned down.