10 tips to reduce your winter heating costs

10 tips to reduce your winter heating costs

Heating represents up to 60% of energy consumption. No wonder you want to cut costs. Here is how.

1. Doors and windows

About 25% of the heat in a house escapes through windows and doors.

Replacing them is therefore a worthwhile investment. You know it is time to bite the bullet and change them when:

  • They are more than 20 years old.
  • You have trouble opening and closing them.
  • You feel a draft when you are nearby.
  • Glass is cold to the touch.
  • Weather stripping is damaged.

Choose doors and windows that are ENERGY STAR® certified. Not only will you save 10% on your heating costs with this quality seal, but you will reduce exterior noise and risk of condensation.

2. Electronic thermostat

If you are searching for energy savings, you should invest in a programmable electronic thermostat.

Properly installed (by a certified electrician) and programmed, it can help you cut up to 10% from your electricity bill.

If you replace them one by one, start with the ones in open areas or where heat is most appreciated.

3. Air leaks

Nobody likes the thought of paying good money to cover heating costs when heat simply escapes from a drafty room.

To detect drafts, place a sheet of paper near a window or door. If the paper moves, there is an air leak.

If you want indisputable results, schedule a blower-door test to find air leaks and drafts.

  • Seal and caulk any cracks around windows, doors, fireplace and foundations.
  • Cover your windows with plastic window film that heat shrinks with a hairdryer.
  • Check weather stripping around doors and windows and replace if necessary.
  • If your garage is heated during the winter, caulk around the garage door and check weather stripping.
  • If your mail is delivered through a slot in your front door, close it off and install a mailbox outside.

4. Temperature settings

Now that your old thermostats have been replaced by digital models, set the temperature between 18°-21°C during the day.

Slightly raise the temperature to 21°-22°C in a bathroom or office.

Lower the temperature by 3°-5°C during the night or while away without affecting your comfort level. Expect to save between 4-5%.

Energy costs increase by 2-5% for every degree above 20°C. Banish the cold by wearing warm, comfortable and cozy clothing.

5. Humidity level

Moisture in the air increases that cold feeling and could increase heating costs.

In wintertime, it is recommended to have a humidity level between 30-50%. Use a hygrometer to measure it. Open the windows for five minutes a day to properly air out your home. Turn on the ventilation system to remove humidity during a shower or bath or while you prepare food.

Also avoid air drying your clothes, especially in extreme cold.

Finally, make sure the dryer duct is properly attached all the way to the outdoor vent flap and empty the lint trap to prevent dryer fires.

6. Hot water

Maybe the time has come to turn down the heat if you like taking really hot baths or showers that make you shrivel up like a raisin.

According to Hydro-Québec, heating water accounts for up to 20% of your electricity bill.

Here are some suggestions to implement if heating water continues to bloat your bill:

  • Take a fast shower instead of a bath. Switch your shower head to a low-flow model.
  • Turn on your washer and dishwasher only when they are filled to maximum capacity. Clothing can be washed well in cold water and come out just as clean.
  • Never let water run needlessly. Turn off the tap while brushing teeth, shaving or washing hands. Fix leaks that can result in wasting 800 litres of water per year.
  • Insulate your water heater and pipes to avoid heat loss (especially if they are copper).

7. Ceiling fan

A ceiling fan located above your stairs is the perfect opportunity to better distribute heat in the house.

As heat rises and cold hangs low to the floor, adjust the fan blade rotation so warm air gets pushed downward.

8. Window coverings

During the day, leave curtains or blinds open to let sunshine warm the room.

At night, close them to avoid letting cool air seep into the room.

9. Heat pump

A heat pump uses less energy than other heating systems, which makes it the most effective way to lower your electricity bill.

However, it cannot provide enough heat on its own during our harsh winters. Another heating system is required, especially when temperatures drop precipitously.

Consider the following factors when it comes time to calculate energy savings:

  • Heat pump purchase and installation
  • Climate and geographic location
  • Expected maintenance to perform
  • Home insulation
  • Area to heat

10. Geothermal

Are you building a home and expect to be in it for the long haul? Why not consider installing a geothermal system?

This eco-friendly solution can save you up to 60% in heating costs compared to electric heating.

Crunch the numbers to check if it would be beneficial to absorb the cost of a geothermal system.