No matter how you heat your home, you can expect your heating bills to be higher this winter – as much as 28% higher for some homeowners and renters. Oil, electric and natural gas heat will be the most expensive options, while electric heating prices have only increased 10% over last year’s rates and propane costs have risen about 5%.
The anticipated spike in costs is a result of inflation, supply chain disruptions and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Those factors, combined with forecasts calling for colder temperatures, are putting a strain on budgets around the country. Don’t fret, there are ways you can save so that your heating bill won’t break the bank!
Check out these 10 tips for saving money on your heating bill:
- Dress warmly. An added layer of clothes, a cozy hat and slippers, or a fuzzy robe could make a huge impact on the temperature you need to maintain to be comfortable in your home. Flannel sheets and extra blankets can also make a big difference.
- Use insulating soft furnishings. Insulating drapes and a simple thing like rugs on hardwood floors create a warming buffer between you and the cold outdoors. Draft stoppers/dodgers put on the floor in front of doors can cut down on cold air leaking inside especially on bitterly cold nights.
- Lower the thermostat. Once you’ve layered up, set the thermostat to a lower temperature and you’ll still feel comfortable setting it even lower at night. Programmable or “smart” thermostats take out the guesswork and make it easy to keep the temperature where you want it. Just be careful not to set temperatures too low as your pipes will freeze!
- Get a home energy audit. Consider getting a home energy audit. This can help you to find ways to make your home more energy efficient by offering suggestions that will lower your heating bill with small, affordable changes like caulking windows, wrapping vents or insulating walls and attics.
- Use fireplaces sparingly and close dampers when not in use. Close fireplace dampers (when not in use) to prevent warm air from escaping. Remember that even though burning wood in a fireplace may feel cozy, it can result in a loss of energy as warm air escapes at a higher rate than the heat from burning wood can replace it.
- Keep vents clear. Move furniture or other items that may be obstructing your heating vents. Only use ventilation fans in kitchens and bathrooms if you absolutely must. When you use an exhaust vent you are sucking the warm air from your home and sending it directly outside.
- Check your furnace filters. Clean or replace them as needed. Get a furnace tune-up to be sure it is running efficiently. Even though it’s a big expense, replacing an older furnace for a newer, more efficient model can save a lot of money. You may even be able to finance the cost with a no, or low, interest loan through the government’s Energy Efficient Financing Program.
- Close off rooms when not in use. If you have more than one heating zone, turn up the heat only in the zones where you’re spending the most time. Again, be sure to keep temperatures high enough that you won’t run the risk of freezing your pipes.
- Shop around and ask friends for recommendations of where to buy oil or natural gas at discounted prices. Be a savvy consumer and don’t fall for a scam. If pricing seems too good to be true it likely is.
- Is a budget plan available? Ask your home heating provider if they have a budget plan that you can join. Even though the overall costs won’t be lower, at least you won’t have any surprises when you open your bill.
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