Profitt Report: How to keep your home warm without cranking up your thermostat

Photo credit: MGN

Staying warm this time of year can be a struggle and our home furnaces are working overtime. Heating up your home makes up more than 40 percent of your utility bill according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Your furnace is still going to do the bulk of the work, but you can make its job easier by doing a few of these tricks.

“Many people have the round thermostats which aren't any good,” said Jeff Lee of Holland Heating and Cooling in Davison.

He said digital is the way to go if you’re looking to save more money on your utility costs this season.

“Also, it has a programmable function where you can actually lower the temperature while you're gone or while you're sleeping and then raise it back up when you're home,” Lee said.

Controlling the temperature like that can mean significant savings. For example, if you usually keep your home at 75 degrees and just drop it to 68 degrees, that’s 10 percent saved on your bill. Meaning, if your bill is $200, that’s $20 back in your pocket.

“[Installing a digital thermostat is] a great do-it-yourself project for about $50, $60 or you can have it professionally installed for $129-159,” Lee said.

Next, a typical warm-weather tool has a winter setting as well: your ceiling fan.

“Normally you think that's ridiculous, you can't use a ceiling fan to stay warmer, but you can,” Lee said.

Check out the base of your fan, you’ll typically find a little switch.

“Which makes the fan spin in the opposite direction. What that does is it brings the heat off of the ceiling, back down to the floor level,” Lee said.

You could also wrap your windows in plastic, you’ll find kits for less than $15.

“Every house needs a little bit of fresh air allowed into it, you have to be careful whenever you're insulating, wrapping the windows anything like that, that you don't seal the house up to your own demise,” he said.

Lee suggests you keep the wrapping to the rooms you’re in majority of the time, such as the living room and kitchen.

Last, as icky as humidity can be in the summer, it’ll work to your favor in this cold.

“By adding something like… either a whole house humidifier or a portable humidifier to put humidity in the home in the winter time,” he said.

But why would we want more moisture in the air?

“Our skin evaporates moisture which helps us to feel cooler, the more moisture we put in the air, the less evaporation there is, the warmer we stay,” Lee said.

Smaller humidifiers are around $30, larger units are around $200. You could also have one installed on your furnace for $550-650.

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