16 Ways to Keep Heating Costs Down

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Want to reduce your heating bill in the winter? It comes down to a bunch of small actions that add up to big savings. Here are sixteen ways to keep heating costs down.

Bundle up.

Make sure you’re wearing appropriate clothing, even while inside.  Layer up, remembering that in most cases, loose clothing will keep you warmer as it insulates better.

Bundle up your living space, too.

Your hardwood floors may be gorgeous, but they don’t help your space retain any heat. And while the window nook is adorable, a lot of warm air is escaping through the panes.

You can bundle up your living space by:

  • Adding floor rugs to your space.
  • Switching out linen curtains for heavier ones.
  • Placing blankets in sitting areas so they’re readily available.

Let the sun in.

By opening up curtains during the day, you can let the sun heat up your living space without spending another cent.

Just remember to close them at night so that same heat doesn’t escape!

Dress your windows.

If you have a drafty window, use plastic to seal it up during the winter months. This way, the sun can still come in, but not as much warm air will escape.

If you don’t have the budget to plastic wrap every window, try hanging a heavy blanket over it instead. You won’t get the sun, but the lack of sunlight may be worth slowing the leak.

If you’ve got the plastic out anyways, go ahead and use it to seal up any doors you don’t use, too. Whether it’s a door to a closet you don’t want to heat or the door to your attic, sealing it off during the colder months can help you keep heating costs down.

Invest in draft stoppers.

Dark pink door draft stopper shaped as a daschund dog sitting in front of the crack at the bottom of a white door. To the left are a pair of pink shoes and a pair of blue shoes.

So you’ve plastic wrapped the doors you don’t regularly use.

But the doors you do use can still let heat out.

Consider investing in a super cute draft stopper that serves both as decoration and a way to keep your heat from escaping out from under the door.

Pinching pennies?  Use a rolled up towel at the base of the door instead.

Seal the leaks.

It’s amazing how much heat you can lose just through a tiny crack.

Caulk up cracks in window and door frames, as well as any cracks that might exist on surfaces such as basement floors or walls.

Check your ducts, too, and use duct tape to seal up any small leaks.

Don’t lose warmth through the fireplace.

If you have a fireplace, make sure the damper is closed when the fireplace isn’t in use. Otherwise, you might be heating your home just to have all the warmth escape up the flue.

Keep heating costs down by clearing your vents.

If your heating vents are blocked, it may be time to adjust your furniture.

For instance, if your couch is in front of the vent that heats your living room, all you’re doing is paying a lot of money to make the back of the couch warm while you’re reaching for your snuggie.

For unavoidable arrangements, you may want to invest in plastic heat directors that can redirect the heat to the rest of the room.

Use the heat you’ve got.

After cooking, don’t let all that heat in the oven go to waste.  Leave the oven door open so you can keep your heating costs down.

When you get out of the shower, you may want to leave the vent fan off and the window closed. That way, the steam escapes out the bathroom door and warms other parts of the house.

If your bathroom doesn’t get a lot of ventilation and you’re worried about water damage from the steam, you may want to weigh the pros and cons of this tip.

Get a humidifier.

Dehumidifer decorated as Hello Kitty

The higher the humidity, the more heat the air holds. That means running a humidifier can help you lower your heating costs in the winter.

Turn down the thermostat.

You can save money on your gas bill in the winter by turning your thermostat down or off at key times of day.

For example, when you’re sleeping under 3 blankets, you might not need the heat up as high. Depending on if you have pets or family members at home during the day, you might not need the heat on as high while you’re at work.

You can either make these adjustments manually, or you can invest in a programmable thermostat. These thermostats allow you to set and forget the temperature of your thermostat for different times of day.

Is it cheaper to leave the heat on all day?

No. While your house will retain heat for longer if it’s better insulated, the amount of energy it takes to kick on the heater is almost never more than you’d lose by heating all the space in your home all the time.

Only turn the heat on when you need it.

How much money do you save by turning down the heat?

According to the Department of Energy, you can save up to 10% on your annual energy costs by turning the temperature down seven to ten degrees Fahrenheit for 8 hours per day.

You’ll be closer to 10% savings if you live in more mild climates; those in places like Phoenix, Arizona or Bradford, Pennsylvania may not see as much savings. Living in an extreme climate, according to DoE, diminishes your savings with this method.

Is it cheaper to turn the heat down at night?

Yes. When you’re cuddled up under blankets, you probably won’t need as much heat. Turning your thermostat down helps you save money.

Change your filter.

Clean or replace your filter often.  Checking on it once a month will keep your bill lower by making sure dirt and other fun stuff isn’t blocking the heat from flowing freely throughout your home.

You should check your filter every six months.

Maintain your furnace.

If you own your home, make sure you have an HVAC professional checking out your furnace for general maintenance on a regular basis. A visit once or twice per year can save you a lot of money and safety hazards over the long-haul.

If you rent and your landlord isn’t doing this, it may be a good idea to ask about it.

Keep heating costs down by adjusting your water heater.

If you have small children, you may have already adjusted the heat on your water heater for safety reasons.

If you haven’t had to do this yet, try turning it down to about 120 degrees. When your water heater doesn’t have to work as hard to heat your shower, you’ll save money.

Shop around for better energy rates.

Whether you’re trying to reduce your electric bill or reduce your natural gas bill, if you live in a deregulated state you can actually shop around for the cheapest energy.

Apply for LIHEAP.

The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) covers a number of home energy costs for low-income families in US states and territories.

You can get LIHEAP assistance for help with:

  • Your heating or cooling bill.
  • Energy crisis assistance.
  • Weatherization of your home.
  • Energy-related home repairs.

You can see if you qualify by contacting your state or territory LIHEAP office.

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