Friday, December 3, 2010

Save Your Finances: Practical Tips to Lowering Your Heating Costs

Dec 2, 2010 Sarah Mitchell

Weatherize your home on a budget - (c) Sarah Mitchell

Weatherize your home on a budget - (c) Sarah Mitchell

During these tough economic times, everyone is looking for ways to save money. Heating costs are no exception. With the price of gas going up, heating bills are sure to follow. If you are looking for relatively inexpensive, simple ways to lower your heating costs, look no further. Below you will find practical tips without breaking the bank this winter.

Ceiling fans can be used year-round

These are not just for summer. In fact, they are great to have for the winter months, too. Many ceiling fans come with two settings, counter- and clockwise options, one for summer and one for winter. The winter setting forces the warm air down and allows it to circulate throughout the room. You can turn your thermostat to a lower setting since you will be utilizing the warm air that you do have, thus allowing your furnace to take a “break.”

Digital thermostats can easily save you money

Energy saving digital thermostats allows users to program their desired temperatures for specific times of the day and, most often, Monday through Sunday. It is estimated that setting your thermostat down by just 10-percent for approximately 8 hours can essentially save you 10-percent off your yearly heating bill.[2]

Although having a digital thermostat can save you money, it must be used correctly. For money saving benefits you should set your thermostat as low as comfortably possibly during the winter and even lower when you are away or sleeping. Madison Gas and Electric recommends setting your thermostat to 68-degrees while you are at home and at 55-degrees when you are not at home or sleeping, according to their website page, “Thermostat Settings.”[1]

Insulate your windows and doors

Take the time to look for drafty areas around your doors and windows and either caulk or weatherstrip the cracks. You might be surprised to know that cold air can seep through your switch plates and outlets as well. Placing foam gaskets behind these will help keep that frigid air out and the heat in.

Check for holes in your insulation by looking for “dirty spots.” A can of spray foam insulation can be used to seal up any of these insulation gaps.

Take advantage of “free” heat

A simple way to heat your home is to open your blinds or curtains on your windows that face south during the day. At night, close them to keep the heat of the day inside.

Window weatherization will aid in keeping the cold out of your home

If purchasing new windows is out of the question, you can make the best of what you have by weatherizing them and sealing them tightly. You may do so either by purchasing a weatherization kit at a retail or hardware store or taping a durable piece of plastic to either the inside of your window frame or on the frame itself.


  1. Madison Gas and Electric website. Thermostat Settings. Accessed December 2, 2010.
  2. U.S. Department of Energy. Energy Savers Booklet: Tips on Saving Energy & Money at Home. Accessed December 2, 2010.
Copyright Sarah Mitchell. Contact the author to obtain permission for republication.

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