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5 Tips: How to Save Money on Your Heating Bill During Cold Winter Months
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.
#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.
#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. .
More ways to save money
- 8 Ways to Save Money With Your Refrigerator
Simple ways to amp up the savings by improving the efficiency of your refrigerator and freezer.
- Save Money and Lower Your Electric Bill While Doing Laundry
How to save money and energy while doing your washing, drying, and ironing.
- How to Save Money On Your Water and Heating Bills This Winter
Simple tips you'll find useful for saving money and encouraging your family to help you!