Ways You Can Reduce Heating Costs

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You’ve received this month’s heating bill and it’s shocking! How could you have racked up that much in heating costs? If you want to avoid those crazy-high heating bills, there are a few things you can do to reduce them. All it takes is a little research, minor improvements, and some attention to detail. You won’t believe how simple it is to cut down on your heating bill just by sealing drafty windows and turning your water heater down just a bit.

Don’t Let Warm Air Escape

One of the biggest heat suckers is a drafty window or door. You can easily find out if your windows are letting in cold air by holding a lit candle or burning incense near them inside on a windy day. If the smoke or flame wavers, you have a leak. Plug it up with caulking or apply weather stripping. Install outlet gaskets to prevent cold air from moving in that way. Door sweeps for that one-inch gap under your exterior doors can also block cold air.

Turn the Thermostat and Water Heat Down

Free, simple ways to save on heating bills involve keeping your thermostat down when you’re not there. For every degree you set your thermostat down, you save about 3 percent on your bill, according to MSN Real Estate. If you turn the dial down 10 degrees while you’re at work each day and when you go to bed in the evening, it translates to a 14 percent savings on your bill. Turning your water heater down to between 115 and 120 degrees can also cut down on heating costs, and you will probably never know the difference when you’re taking a shower.

Seal the Ducts

If your home has warm-air heating ducts, inspect them on a regular basis and seal them as necessary, advises the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, as ducts can lose up to 20 percent of the air passing through. By sealing the ducts, you are ensuring proper airflow and cutting down on unnecessary loss of heated air. You’re also improving your indoor air quality, as leaky ducts track in dust and humidity, which can trigger allergies and asthma. You will have to hire someone for this job and it may cost you a few hundred dollars, but it will reduce both heating and cooling costs by up to 20 percent, says the ACEEE.

Give Your Heating System a Tune-Up

Regular tune-ups of your heating systems are necessary to keep them working in optimal, efficient condition. Service your oil-fired system once a year, your gas-fired system once every couple of years, and heat pumps every two to three years, advises ACEEE. You’ll not only cut down on heating costs, you’ll also help extend the life of the system, reduce the chances of high repair costs and emergency break-downs, and even reduce pollutants that may creep into your home.

Quick, Easy Ways to Save

There are many things you can do that don’t cost much money or time but can go a long way toward ensuring you’re not paying more than you should for heating. Install a low-flow showerhead, put plastic winterizing film on your windows, and wrap your water heater and pipes with insulated materials. This way, you won’t experience any sticker-shock when you open next month’s bill.

Home Finances