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  • Save On Heating

    Frugal Tips To Reduce Heating Costs

    With the passing of fall, winter is now upon us which means crisp, starry nights, snowy white blankets on the ground and, unfortunately, higher energy bills as you try to stay warm. takes a look at some easy and inexpensive steps which will help you to stay warm this winter without going broke.

    While you may see the energy companies as your enemy when their bills arrive, they can actually be your friend when it comes to getting you house into energy efficient shape over the long haul. Many offer free or low cost energy evaluations of your house simply by contacting them and asking as well information booklets on how to reduce your energy bills. They may also offer a number of discount programs to help you get your house into a more energy efficient mode as well as discounts for certain energy efficient products that will help you save energy over the long term. This is an excellent place to start to ultimately getting those heating bills under control.

    For those who want to start right away, one of the easiest ways to stay warm is to make sure that the warm air in your house stays in the house. While this advice probably sounds obvious, you may be surprised at all the places that warm air is trying (and succeeding) to escape. Your job is to make it as difficult as possible for the warm air to do so, and the first step to accomplish this is to take a tour of your residence searching for any areas that have a draft.

    Some obvious places that you may find drafts are around windows and under doors. Spreading some new caulking over leaks in window frames will usually do the trick for a few dollars. If you have storm windows, make sure that they are securely closed. For those without storm windows, purchasing temporary ones (a plastic film that you place over your window and secure with heat from a blow dryer which is available at most hardware stores) should also help. If you have shutters, close those on the north side of the house and all of them in the evening when the sun goes down.

    While shoving rags underneath doors is one way to combat the drafts originating there, it isn't the most sightly option and doesn't make for easy use of the door. A simple alternative is to purchase a door sweep which is much more attractive and doesn't cost more than a few dollars. If you find drafts coming from other areas of the door frame, thin, pliable rubber around the frame will often do the trick to make a tight seal.

    After windows and doors, it's time to head to your fireplace. Make sure the flue is closed since leaving it open results in the same effect as leaving one of your windows wide open. If you never use the fireplace, consider having the flue plugged and sealed. Even when closed, most flues will still leave cracks where air can escape. If you do use your fireplace, check the seal on the flue damper and adjust so that it is as tight as possible. Lastly, use your trusty caulking to plug any leaks originating from the fireplace hearth.

    Another place where warm air often gets sucked out that most people don't consider is through ventilation fans. Use your ventilating fans in the kitchen, bathroom and other areas with care. Accidentally leaving one on can clear out a houseful of heated air in about an hour. Be sure to turn off these fans as soon as they have done their job.

    Save Money And Energy With These Steps

    Once you have plugged all the leaks where the warm air is escaping, the next step is to close off areas that don't need to be heated. Close the heat vents in all the rooms that are rarely used as well as the room doors. Make sure that all closet doors are shut after being used. There is no need to heat the areas of the house that you are not using. The one issue you need to take care about is determining where your thermostat sensors are located. If they are located in a room that you close off, you may actually make your furnace work harder as it tries to warm a room that you have effectively shut off.

    To further keep the warm air in the house, keep the curtains closed on north-facing windows which will act like an extra layer if insulation. Do exactly the opposite with the south facing windows. Keep the curtains pulled back during the day so the sun can shine through and help warm the house. Once the sun sets, close these curtains, too.

    Another time when a large amount of heat can escape is while holding doors open for pets while they make up their mind whether to go out or stay in. Installing a pet door, if appropriate, can solve this problem and will usually pay for itself within a year.

    The next step is to keep the temperature in your house as consistent as possible while at home and lowering it while away or asleep. The best way to do this is to purchase a programmable thermostat if you don't already have one. These cost anywhere from $20 on up depending on all the features you want, but even a basic one on the low end will be well worth the investment.

    Manual thermostats tend to cost households more for a couple of reasons. First, temperatures are usually adjusted beyond the true temperature desired. When you get up in the morning and feel that frosty air, the automatic reaction is to crank up the heater as high as possible to warm the room as quickly as possible. The same is true when you return home after being out for the day. In addition, manual thermostats tend to be adjusted more often to get the room to the desired temperature. Increased when the room gets a little cold, then decreased when it gets to warm, these adjustments by hand are rarely as accurate as can be automatically done with the programmable thermostat . By constantly adjusting the thermostat manually, you make your furnace work harder and inevitably that costs you more in your heating bill.

    The programmable thermostat offers a number of advantages. First, you can set the time when your furnace turns on 30 minutes before you get up. This will have your house at the desired temperature when you get up meaning there is no need to crank up the temperature setting in an attempt to quickly get warm. For those who work leaving the house empty for most of the day, the savings can be doubled by not only lowering the temperature during the night, but also during all the hours you are away at work. You simply program the thermostat to begin lowering the temperature 30 minutes before you leave to work and continue the same process of raising it again 30 minutes before your return home. A lower end programmable thermostat should pay for itself in lower energy bills in a matter of months.

    Finally, you want t make sure that all your heating equipment is in top shape. If you haven't had your furnace or boiler checked in awhile, have someone come in and make sure it is running efficiently. Not only will this save you money now by having it work more efficiently, it will also save you in the long run by extending the life of this equipment. In addition you should do regular maintenance yourself such as changing the filters when recommended to keep it running in top shape.

    By following these frugal winter heating tips, you should be able to stay warm this winter without burning a hole in your wallet.
    Last edited by james.hendrickson; 01-30-2019, 12:03 PM.

  • #2
    Bumping this due to the extreme cold in the midwest this winter.


    • #3
      I had the coal stove burning last night.