Thrifty Ways to Cut down Heating Bills

The winter months can break the bank with all of the extra expenses.  From holiday shopping to heating bills, it seems to add up quickly.  It seems no one is fully ready for their first winter heating bill when it arrives.  The exclamations, shock, and outrage at the expense is emotionally frustrating as well as draining on the finances.  There are ways to help curb this bill down to something more manageable, however.

One of the first ways to save on your heating bill is to winterize your home properly before the first winter storm hits.  Find the places in your home that tend to be cooler than the others and look for where the draft is coming in.  Use caulk or foam to stop those drafts.  You can use window plastic kits to seal off your windows.  Make sure you have the proper window treatments up as well.  Switching to heavier drapes in the winter and putting away the lighter, prettier curtains can save a bundle on the heating bill and keep your home a lot warmer.

The next thing you can do to save on your heating bill is set your thermostat properly.  If you have a digital programmable one, you can set it to run slightly lower the hours when everyone is sleeping and start warming up again when it’s time to rise for the day.  During sleep the family is snuggly covered in bed, so the thermostat doesn’t need to be the same temperature as it would be during the day when the family is active and about in the house.  Is everyone in the family gone during the daytime? Check your furnace temperatures.  You can run at a bare minimum for your home safety, pipes, etc and do not need the house to be hot as hades.

Another big cost saver is to make sure your furnace is running at full efficiency.  You can have a local heating/cooling person come in and check this.  If your furnace is only running at 40% efficiency your heating bill is going to be a lot higher because it is going to work a lot harder to keep your house comfortable.  While a new furnace is not cheap, it may add up to big savings in the long haul if the old one just isn’t doing its job properly.

Since you are already wondering how well your furnace is pumping, go ahead and change those filters.  Changing those filters each year will not only keep the air cleaner in your home, but will help increase the productivity of your furnace.  This is an easy and important way you can decrease your costs in the winter months.

Alternate heat sources can also save on the utility bills.  Some homes can easily and safely support the old wood burning stove in the basement or garage.  This could pump heat throughout areas of the home for very little money if you have the ability to do so and to maintain the proper resources to run it.  Some rooms of the house may always be colder than others by design, in those cases it can be more efficient to run a space heater in that room for the few hours you are working there than to crank up the thermostat to the entire home.  

Last but not least, if you have a fireplace don’t be afraid to utilize it when you can.  It will provide your family a cozy, comfortable feeling and keep your thermostat from kicking on as often.  And who doesn’t enjoy cuddling under a blanket with some hot chocolate in front of a roaring fire to spend a family evening?