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Yes, keeping your door open in the winter will raise your heating bill

The more cold air inside your home, the more energy it will take to heat the building up.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — With winter coming in the next two months, heating and utility bills are on consumers' minds. Michigan's lake effect snow makes the season freezing. Some viewers wrote in and asked what they could do to lessen their bill.

This question comes from a viewer who wants to know if this specific trick will help or hurt him.

THE QUESTION

Does leaving your house door open impact your heat bill?

THE SOURCES

  • The United States Energy Information Administration
  • Terry DeDoes, Consumers Energy Spokesperson
  • Dan Brudzynski, DTE Gas Vice President

THE ANSWER

   

This is true.

Yes, leaving any door or window open during the winter to let cool air in will impact your heating bill. 

WHAT WE FOUND

Due to Michigan's cold winters, the state ranks among the top 10 in both population and total energy use, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. 

"Any cold air that's getting into the shell of the building, your home that you're trying to heat, will be impacted," DeDoes said.

The more cold air inside your home, the more energy it will take to heat the building up, he added. Because every home is different, he says there is no way to quantify how much your bill would increase by leaving windows or doors open.

"So not only do we recommend closing the door to save on your heating costs, we recommend you look at your other doors and windows," he said. "And if you see gaps between there, put in weatherstripping."

Along with filling in those drafty windows and doors, He also recommends keeping your thermostat set at about 68 degrees. You can save about 1 to 3% for every degree you can dial. When you are out of the house, lowering temperature is cost-effective.

RELATED: No, Michigan won't have as severe heating costs this winter

Although keeping your windows or door open during the summer to bring cool air in will lessen your bill, opening the door during winter will cause the warm air from your home to escape and will subsequently require more energy and money to keep warm.

"So please close your door, and you'll see a reduction in your heating bill this winter compared to if you had left that door open," he said. 

These cost mitigation strategies will be particularly important, Brudzynski said.

  • Replace your thermostat with a programmable model. Save up to $180 annually by programming it for the season. The recommended settings are 68 degrees during the day and a degree or two lower at night for comfort and efficiency while you are home. 
  • Save up to $200 a year by sealing air leaks around your home to keep heat in and cold air outside and adding proper insulation. Add caulk or weather stripping as necessary to seal leaks around windows and doors. 
  • Inspect and replace your furnace filter at the start of the season and at least every 3 months to ensure your furnace can work at peak efficiency. 
  • For customers who need help paying their energy bills, DTE offers several payment assistance programs. 

Brudzynski said to contact DTE at 800.477.4747 as soon as you know you may have a challenge paying your bill. Customers in the Michigan-area may also dial 211 to reach a service agency for help in identifying all the assistance available. 

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