More people than ever are seeking ways of cutting their bills. Heating costs contribute as much as half of the average energy bill, and are a major expense for the average family, but fortunately there are a number of ways to cut the cost without spending a single dime.
Firstly, check that you are not paying too much for your energy bills at powerswitch.com (UK and USA residents). Many people will save hundreds of dollars in just a few minutes simply by switching supplier. The process is largely automated and can usually be completed whole online.
You may also qualify for an insulation grant from the Department of Energy (USA) or Warm Front (UK), depending on your circumstances. Savings will very according to the nature of the insulation, but, as an example, loft insulation could cut your energy bill by up to $200 per year.
The easiest way to cut your heating bills forever is to turn your thermostat down! A temperature of 68 F is comfortable for a healthy person, yet most people have their thermostats set far higher. Some studies suggest that turning down the heating by just 2 F can shave over 5% from the average heating bill. Take a common-sense approach to heating – if you can walk around while the heating is on in short-sleeves, or without socks or slippers, your thermostat is definitely turned too high.
At night most will find 63 F or even lower is acceptable. Wearing terry pyjamas and socks in bed will help, as will using extra blankets or duvets. A blanket under your mattress can stop draughts and makes a surprising difference to your warmth in bed.
If you’re not in the house at all, 55 F is warm enough to ensure that pipes don’t freeze. Incidentally, one urban legend states that it costs more money to warm a house back up than to maintain the steady warmth. This has now been extensively disproved. Turn the thermostat down if you will be out of the house for longer than a few hours – if your thermostat has a timer you can set it to switch off half an hour before you go out and back on half an hour fore you are due to return. The US Department of Energy states that turning the thermostat down by 10-15 F for eight hours per day reduces the average heating bill by around 5 to 15%.
Love your radiators! Build up of air in radiators stops them from heating fully and pushes up your heating bills. Bleed them regularly to prevent this. Make sure that your furniture is well clear of radiators. Not only can this damage your furniture, but it prevents air from circulating around the room, making your heating system less efficient and therefore costlier to run.
Stop heat from escaping. There’s no point warming that air up only for it to escape through a draught, right? Close curtains as soon as it begins to get dark, lining them with old blankets if necessary. Ensure that you use curtains across external doors as well as all windows. Do not keep doors -either internal or external – or windows open while using your heating system unless this is needed for ventilation. Insulation doesn’t have to cost money if you use what you have to hand. Use old socks or pantyhose stuffed with newspaper or rags to make draught excluders for doors; wrap these in pretty fabric if you are worried about their appearance. Windows can be insulated with old bubble wrap – this can often be obtained free of charge from local businesses.
By cutting your heating costs you are cutting a major expense. Remember, you can’t control the weather, but you can control your thermostat!