With winter fast approaching, you might be starting to get concerned about rising heating bills -- especially if you're on a tight budget. While heating bills are just part of living in a climate that experiences a cold winter, there are numerous ways you can cut down on the usage of your furnace. These changes aren't just an effective way to lower your bill; they'll also mean your furnace won't be running as hard or as long, which can help extend its life. Here are three changes you can make that will help you save money each month.
Fix Drafty Wall Outlets
Take a walk around your home on a cold day and place your hand in front of each of your wall outlets. If your home is properly insulated, you won't feel any change, but if the insulation is lacking, you'll notice a cool feeling. Use a screwdriver to remove the outlet's cover plate and install an insulation gasket, which you can find at home improvement stores. This foam insert fills the void in front of the outlet's electrical box, and once you screw the cover plate back into position, you shouldn't feel a draft any longer.
Change Your Furnace Filter
Many homeowners neglect changing their furnace filter, but failing to address this simple task can escalate your heating bill. When the filter is clogged, your furnace will have to work harder to supply hot air to your home, which can also reduce the furnace's life. It's ideal to change your furnace filter about every four to six weeks over the course of the winter; once spring arrives, you don't have to worry about it until the fall. Don't be daunted by this task; check your furnace manual to determine the simple steps needed to remove the old filter, and then take the old filter to a home supply store to ensure you buy the correct replacement.
Install A Themostat
Installing a thermostat is an effective way to control your furnace usage. Once you've programmed the device, you can forget about trying to remember whether you left the furnace on unnecessarily while you're out. A common approach is to program the thermostat so the temperature inside your home drops during the day, climbs during the evening hours when you're at home and then drops again overnight. There's typically no reason to keep the house hot when you're not there or when you're cuddled under your blankets in bed.