All summer long, you stood in front of the fan and fantasized about a time when you didn’t have to worry about humidity and UV rays. But now that the fall has arrived — with winter on its heels — you’re not as keen for the chill as you once were. That’s because the drop in temperature usually coincides with a spike in your bill as you heat your home against the weather. If you’re worried what the fall and winter can do to your bank account, check in with these cheap home improvement tips to help lower your energy costs.
Check your weather stripping
Poorly insulated windows and doors are two major culprits for your rising heating costs. They let the warm air in your home escape while the cold air outside slips in. Before the weather gets too bad, you should inspect the weather stripping and caulking around these points of entry — both inside and out. If you see any holes or cracks, caulking works as a good spot treatment. For large-scale damages, you might have to install new weather stripping. You can find both materials at your local hardware store, and they shouldn’t cost you more than $100.
Inspect your windows
A good rule of thumb while fixing the weather stripping of your windows is to check the glass itself. Sometimes it’s not defective caulking at fault but damaged windows that let all your warm air out. You should keep an eye out for obvious signs of damage, like a crack, but know the less-obvious signs of old windows. Things like condensation, decaying frames, and any windows swollen shut suggest you need new windows.
Installing new windows is by far the most expensive suggestion on this list. If you find yourself just short of covering this cost on your own, consider supplementing your savings with an online line of credit. Unlike traditional personal loans, online lines of credit don’t involve the typical red tape that can slow down the borrowing process. The online application and distribution allow companies like MoneyKey to issue these loans in just one business day. Homeowners use online line of credit loans when they need to make quick repairs.
If you’re far off from being able to pay for new windows even with a line of credit, make new windows a priority for next year. You should start saving for them now. In the meantime, you can install insulating plastic over the glass to help prevent how much heat these damaged panes leak.
Buy a new thermostat
A lot of the time heating bills are high due to overzealous user error. You feel a chill, so you turn up the heat instead of adding a sweater. You leave for the day, but you forget to turn down the heat while you’re out of the home.
If you’re guilty of the above, it’s time to invest in a programmable thermostat. These digital thermostats let you set the temperature in your home and forget it, so you’re less likely to fiddle with the settings or forget to turn the dial down when you aren’t home. According to the Department of Energy, you can save as much as 10 percent on your heating costs when you lower your temperature by 10 degrees while you’re at work.
No matter how excited you are for the fall or winter, few people are prepared for the cost of heating their homes as the mercury dips. You can keep comfortable without breaking the bank by making essential upgrades to your home this fall. Try out these tips and more to see how much you can save.