Finding ways in retirement to become more frugal on a limited income is important. Since it is very difficult to increase your income, you have to learn how to reduce expenditures. One place where there is an opportunity to make a significant reduction is your heating bill. No, the answer is not to freeze to death.
You heat more than you think inside your house. The first place to reduce cost is to wrap your hot water heater in some type of thermal blanket made for this purpose. A lot of heat is lost through the skin of the tank. This makes you have to reheat the same water again and again.
If you have don’t have storm windows or thermal pane style windows, you need to get some installed. Many times there are government programs to help with this need. Windows are the single largest place that your home bleeds heat in cold weather. If you already have these installed, you can get plastic sheeting to cover your window openings from the inside. If done properly , this will seal the area around the edges of your windows.
Have your house insulation checked in the attic and walls. You need a high R-factor overhead. A rating of 30 to 40 is a minimum. In the walls, you need at least a rating of 12 to 19. Higher is better. If you have a crawl space, have that checked for insulation, too. The cold from the ground can find its way up through your floors. Again, check for government programs for the disabled and elderly that might help with this cost.
Seal off any unused rooms that don’t have water. Any extra bedrooms or storage areas are the first place to start. Don’t overlook even areas like a living room or dining room. These rooms may not have doors, but a heavy drape can be used to close them off. Close off any heat vents that dump heat into those rooms. If you heat less floor space, you will reduce your heating costs.
Find ways to get outside that don’t let the wind whistle through your doorways. Even if your garage is unheated, the air is still. You can go in and out through it with minimal air exchange. A mud room where you can shut a door behind you and then exit the house is just as good.
Have your clothes dryer fitted with a port that will allow the heated air from drying your clothes to escape into your house. It may smell a little like fabric soften, but most people can live with that. If this creates too many humidity problems, it may not be an option for you. Most houses are actually too dry during the winter months because of heating.
Be cautious doing this. You may want to invest in a small portable space heater that you can move from room to room. Keep your house about 5 or 10 degrees below your comfort level and just bring the room you are in at the time up to a warmer temp with this small heater. 110 volt heaters use very little power compared to a furnace cranking up.
Wear extra clothing. It doesn’t hurt to wear a light jacket or sweater. Long and insulated underwear can help. Leaving a small cap or hat on inside will keep you from losing too much heat through your head. If you get to where you need to wear gloves, you are probably overdoing this approach. Leave the heat down at night and add blankets to your bed.