10 Home Heating Mistakes That Spike Your Bills

There are a lot of steps you can take to improve your home’s energy efficiency, and there is a lot you can do to damage it too. Make the most of your energy spending this winter by avoiding these 10 common home heating mistakes.

By Jennifer Noonan | Updated Feb 28, 2022 04:34 PM

Heating an Empty House

Heating An Empty House

If you’re out of the house at work most of the day, or if you're away for the weekend, don’t heat the house the way you would if you were lounging around there. Spring for a programmable thermostat, which will save you money on energy bills. Set it to turn down the heat while you’re away and warm up the house right before you return.

Related: 9 Sneaky Ways to Cut Your Home Heating Bills


Not Locking Your Windows

heat loss through windows

Of course you keep your windows closed in the winter. But do you remember to lock them? If your windows are not sealed tightly, cold air can infiltrate your home and the warm air your furnace is producing could leak out. Be sure to lock all your windows during the winter months.

Related: 8 Wise Ways to Winter-Proof Your Home for Practically Nothing


It might be time to call a pro
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Cranking Up the Thermostat

Cranking Up the Thermostat

Don’t make the mistake of trying to heat your home faster by cranking up the thermostat further than it needs to go. Turning your thermostat too high has no effect on how fast your home will heat up. Your furnace will just end up running longer—which will translate into a higher utility bill.

Related: 10 Things to Buy If You're Always Cold


Not Changing the Air Filter

not changing furnace filter

When the air filter is dirty, your furnace has to work harder and will use more energy doing so. Make sure you change out the air filter on a regular schedule. Your system will work more efficiently—and economically.

Related: 7 Things to Do Right Now for a Warmer Winter


Ignoring Leaks and Drafts

air leaks in house

Don’t underestimate how much heat your home could be losing as a result of leaks and drafts. Check all the doors, windows, and exterior walls for drafts. Seal and caulk any areas where cold air is coming in and warm air could leak out. Pay special attention to the basement and attic. They are generally the worst offenders.

Related: Draft Dodgers: 8 DIY Creations to Keep Out the Cold


Closing Vents in Unused Rooms

Closing Vents In Unused Rooms

You might think it would make sense to close the vents in unoccupied rooms to save money. After all, why heat a room that’s empty? Well, the fact is that the ductwork for your heating system is sized to provide even heating throughout the house, and the system won’t work efficiently if you disrupt that balance by closing vents.

Related: The 10 Best Winter Buys for a Happy, Healthy Home


Neglecting Regular Furnace Maintenance

furnace maintenance

Just like your car, your furnace needs regular maintenance to keep it in good working order. Don’t ignore this. A well-maintained system will run more efficiently, keeping your energy bills down. Also, regular checkups will ensure that a small issue doesn’t balloon into a costly maintenance problem.

Related: The 50 Best Products for Surviving Winter


Turning Your Thermostat Down Too Low

Thermostat Too Low

While you don’t want to heat your house when you’re not home, don’t make the mistake of turning the thermostat down too low while you’re away. Doing so will just force your furnace to work harder when it's time to bring the temperature up again, and you'll end up spending more money in the long run.

Related: 11 Mistakes Homeowners Make Every Winter


Using Your Fireplace as a Heat Source

using fireplace for heat

It might seem like a good idea to turn your thermostat down and use the fireplace for heat in a small space, but you'd actually be doing more harm than good. Most of that heated air will go straight through the chimney and out of your house. And that very same chimney will also let in the chilly air from outside, making your house colder and forcing your furnace to work harder.

Related: 7 Mistakes Not to Make with Your Fireplace


Leaving Exhaust Fans On

Leaving Exhaust Fans On

As soon as you’ve finished using an exhaust fan in the bathroom or the kitchen, turn it off. Exhaust fans are necessary to purge moist or smelly air from your home, but you definitely don’t want to be pumping warm air out of your house longer than is required.

Related: 10 Ways to Warm Up Your Bathroom in Winter


Stay Warm Without Going Broke

Stay Warm Without Going Broke

If you educate yourself and are careful, you can save a lot on your home energy costs.


It might be time to call a pro
Get free, no-commitment repair estimates from licensed HVAC technicians near you.

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