Thursday, November 3, 2011

7 Tips to Reduce Your Heating Bills This Winter!

Guest post by Sean from Free Snatcher and One Smart Dollar, as originally posted on Money Saving Mom!

With the colder months almost upon us, you may be concerned about the cost of your utilities rising as the temperature outside goes down. The winter months already come with additional expenses due to the holidays, so why not follow a few tips to cut your heating bill down so you can spend less money on keeping warm and more money on the things you enjoy?

You do not have to undergo a large home improvement project in order to save money on your heating bill.

Before deciding to take on home renovation projects to save money on utilities make sure you figure out the cost of the improvement and how much you will really be saving each year. Compare these costs and decide if the upgrade to your home is worth it.

The investment you may make in energy efficient windows or a fireplace insulator may not pay off for a number of years, so you should calculate how much the project will cost, how much you will save on utilities each year, and how many more years you are going to be living in your home. This will help you decide whether the project will pay off in the long term. If you do undertake a home improvement project, check to see whether there are any tax breaks or homeowner’s insurance policy discounts you can qualify for adding energy efficient items to your home.

If you decide to forgo the home improvement projects because you do not want to spend a lot of money upfront, here are seven simple ways to reduce the cost of heating your home this winter:

1. Turn down your thermostat.

You do not need to be living in tropical conditions at your home during the winter months. Find a temperature that is comfortable that you and the members of your household can live with, and keep the thermostat fixed at that temperature.

Also, make sure to turn down your thermostat when you are out of the house and at night when you go to sleep. You can turn it down manually, but a programmable thermostat works best because it does the work for you!

In addition, only heat rooms you actually use. If you don’t use your spare bedroom, storage room, or parts of your basement, don’t pay to heat them.

2. Open and close your blinds.

In order to keep the heat in your house, make sure that your blinds and curtains are open during the day. This will allow natural sunlight and warmth into your home to help heat it. At night, make sure to close your blinds and curtains in order to trap the heat in and not allow it to escape via the window.

3. Winterize your windows.

You can buy plastic film to cover your windows, which will curb drafts and keep heat from escaping. Although this may not be the most attractive solution, it can help reduce heating costs.

4. Block all drafts.

Inspect your door frames to make sure no drafts are coming into your home through cracks or other spaces. If there is a crack, repair it yourself or have it repaired so cold air is not coming into your home. You can also purchase or make door snakes or put towels in front of the bottom of your door to prevent cold air from coming in.

5. Make sure your furnace is working properly.

Check your furnace to see if your air filter is clean. A clogged air filter will help your heating system work more efficiently.

Air filters are very inexpensive to replace (they cost anywhere from $5 to $20) and will help your heating system to work as it should. You may also want to have your furnace checked by a professional in order to see if it is working in the most cost-effective way to heat your home.

6. Use your ceiling fans.

Fans can be used during the winter in order to suck up warm air through your home and distributing it to help keep your house warm. Set your fan to blow air towards the ceiling. This will allow it to evenly heat the room.

7. Contact your utility company.

Many utility companies offer specific tips by phone, email, or on their website to help you save money on your utility bills. Some companies will even send a representative to your home and conduct an energy audit and will offer ideas on how to help you use less energy and reduce your utility costs.

Sean Bryant is a personal finance blogger at and He enjoys helping people spend and manage their money more effectively.

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