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5 Tips: How to Save Money on Your Heating Bill During Cold Winter Months

Updated on January 3, 2012

Save money, conserve energy.

It is the beginning of December and I'm already praying for March. My icy fingers need frequent breaks from typing to get warmed up inside my sleeves, and in the back of my mind, I'm dreading paying the heating bill over the next few months. This hub is meant to help you save money on your heating bill with a few tips on how to conserve energy around the home.

When I worked for my local Community Action Agency, I had the pleasure of heading out with my co-workers during winter months to help "weatherize" homes-- that is, make them more energy efficient. Part of my job was to educate people about ways to save money on their heating, electricity, and water bills. I still keep all of this information around to remind myself to stay frugal and conserve energy. I'll be writing a series of hubs related to the topic of being more efficient in the household based on this information that was given to me.

Save money during cold, snowy, winter months!
Save money during cold, snowy, winter months! | Source

#1- Save money by lowering your thermostat temperature.

The rule of thumb here is warm socks, mittens, and sweaters. Look, I am as cold-blooded as they get, but I'm also pretty frugal, and I find myself layering on the wool sweaters and fleece vests when the temperature drops. I even wear socks and mittens to bed sometimes. This allows me to keep my thermostat at 52° F when temperatures drop down low.

I realize that this is far too low for comfort for most people, and don't worry, I turn up the temperature when guests come over, but setting the heating thermostat as low as comfort permits (doesn't have to be 52°!) is the best way to save. Each degree over 68° F can add as much as 3% to the amount of energy needed for heating. Likewise, each degree below 68° F can save about the same amount of energy and money.

#2- Don't let your furniture, rugs, or drapes block the heating registers.

I have this beautiful oriental rug that my uncle brought back from Turkey. It sits right next to my large south-facing windows, so it gets the glory of full sun lighting it up year round. Problem is, when it gets cold outside, the rug covers the heating vent, causing it to billow up and trap warm air underneath it.

Enough rambling. The point of the story is that I fold back the corner of the rug during the winter, so it doesn't look perfect anymore, but it saves money. When heating your home, you want as much air circulation as possible, so blocking the registers with your great-grandmother's china cabinet probably isn't the most efficient way to arrange furniture.

Saving money on heating with your thermostat. Friend or foe?
Saving money on heating with your thermostat. Friend or foe? | Source

#3- Lower the temperature on the themostat one or two degrees before entertaining a large group of people.

Now, I know I just told you that I turn up the heat when I have company, but that is because I keep it at an uncomfortable low. If you are like most people, you probably keep it somewhere in the high 60's during the cold winter months. This will keep the house warm enough that you will be able to lower it a degree or two before your big party, and your guests won't notice. Why? Because every body you pack into your place is like a free furnace. Body heat from just one person can raise the temperature of a room by several degrees-- that is one way that search dogs are trained to find people inside buildings.

If you really want to amp up the savings, amp up the stereo and get people dancing.

#4- Open the curtains on south-facing windows during sunny days to get some solar heat.

If you're reading this from South Africa or Chile, you'll want to adjust the advice as necessary. Keeping your curtains closed tight will allow less heat to escape, but opening them to let the sun heat your room can give your heating unit a much-needed break. Take advantage of the gifts of nature.

#5- Use bath and kitchen exhaust fans and vents less.

Try to cut back your use of the vent above the kitchen stove and the bathroom vents during winter.

These fans draw heated air out of the room, costing you money. Turn them on only when necessary, or not at all. .


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    • stephaniedas profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Das 

      6 years ago from Miami, US

      Nomascus concolor- you're welcome! It feels nice knowing that these tips have helped you warm up your space a bit more. I'm glad you left that comment :)

      Debbie Roberts- Thanks for the great comment! Hope you save some money this winter...I sure saved a lot of my electric bill. Thankfully spring has arrived.

    • debbie roberts profile image

      Debbie Roberts 

      6 years ago from Greece

      I am real cold arse. I spend my winters like you, wearing layer upon layer of clothing, scarves and fingerless gloves constantly and still not feeling warm. When spring finally arrives I look like I've lost half my body weight!

      My biggest bugbear is people covering the radiators with their clothes, it's up there with leaving the fridge door open during the summer.

      Your tips are spot on and should help to save some pennies or cents.

      A good hub and thanks for sharing.

    • Nomascus concolor profile image

      Nomascus concolor 

      6 years ago from A Country called Earth

      Thanks for sharing these tips. I started to look into this now, as it started snowing here in England. One of my heaters was behing the bed (your tip n°2) it is so much warmer now that I moved the bed. Few more tips on a hub I just wrote if you are interested in the subjet.

    • stephaniedas profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Das 

      6 years ago from Miami, US

      @Millionaire tips- Thank you! I will be over to check it out shortly! I really appreciate it :)

      @jeyaramd- You're welcome, thanks for the comment!

    • jeyaramd profile image


      6 years ago from Mississauga, Ontario

      Just in time for winter. Thanks for the reminder. Great hub.

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 

      6 years ago from USA

      Hi Stephanie, I am back again. I wanted to let you know that I have added this hub to my list of favorite hubs this week.

    • stephaniedas profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Das 

      6 years ago from Miami, US

      @Millionaire Tips- Thanks for commenting. That is a good point. I may think about investing in some plastic vent covers, which I hadn't even though of getting until now.

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 

      6 years ago from USA

      These are great ideas Stephanie. I guess I need to reduce my thermostat some more! The heater vents do make room arranging very limiting, but I agree - you want to keep those vents clear. I use plastic vent covers to direct the flow of air lower, since hot air rises. I think it does make the room feel warmer.

    • stephaniedas profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Das 

      6 years ago from Miami, US

      Well, certainly sounds counter-productive. I used to live in a house that had no central heating, and we used a wood stove with vents to heat the place up. It did a pretty good job, though we still wore coats in the house all winter. I remember that it was one of those round, old-fashioned wood stoves with a glass door. I'll do some more research about types of fireplaces, and maybe I'll write a hub on it soon. Thanks for replying to my question.

    • ktrapp profile image

      Kristin Trapp 

      6 years ago from Illinois

      I am not sure about glass doors and electric vents on a fireplace. But for a simple fireplace, air is literally pulled/drawn up the chimney from the rest of the house. It certainly feels warm and cozy next to the fireplace, but step back a few feet and you can actually feel the draft.

    • stephaniedas profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Das 

      6 years ago from Miami, US

      @marlobydesign- Thanks for commenting, I'm glad I included something useful here.

      @ktrapp-Thanks for the comment and the tip! I think I've heard about that before, but to be honest, I always feel way warmer when I have a fire going. Do you think there are any details to take into account here? For example, I know some people who have mesh screens over their fireplace, but the one in my house has a solid glass door and electric vents that blow out the heat into the room. I wonder if that makes a difference? Or am I just feeling warmer in the room with the fire while the rest of my house gets colder?

      @Cresentmoon- Always good to see you around, and I appreciate the feedback.

      @evylynrose- I'm glad you found one...that is why I posted these, I figured that most people don't ever talk about that one tip, and also the one about lowering the thermostat before having people over. Most people would do the opposite. Thanks for commenting!

    • Evylyn Rose profile image

      Evylyn Rose 

      6 years ago from Virginia, USA

      Great hub! Although I already knew most of these tips, I hadn't even considered the impact the bathroom and kitchen vents had on the heat. I'll definitely put tip #5 into action starting now!

    • Cresentmoon2007 profile image


      6 years ago from Caledonia, MI

      Very useful information you have here and well written. Wonderful advise. Voted up. I'm sure plenty of people can use this one.

    • ktrapp profile image

      Kristin Trapp 

      6 years ago from Illinois

      I just had to have my furnace repaired yesterday so this article caught my eye. These are all really good heat-saving, money-saving tips. Here's another one: don't use a fireplace regularly. Like the vents you mentioned, it actually sucks the heat out of the home and up the chimney.

    • MarloByDesign profile image


      6 years ago from United States

      Voted UP and USEFUL. Thanks for the advice on cutting back on the use of bathroom vents during winter.


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