For many of us, heating our homes in the winter can become very expensive. Here are 8 ways to save money on your heating bill and save that money for something else!
8 Ways To Save Money On Your Heating Bill
I have heard the same basic 5-10 tips on how to save money on heat and I’m sure you have, too– tips like “make sure all of your windows are caulked” or “turn down your thermostat”. Many of us proudly decide, “This is the winter I am turning my thermostat way down”. One hour into the day you are so cold and miserable you give up and turn it back up again.
Take a deep breath, be brave, and try one or all of these tips to help lower your heating bill. Some of the tips may seem extreme but there is nothing to say you can’t modify them to fit your needs. If you practice only part of each tip you will still be one step farther along.
- Dress appropriately and not for your own comfort. So many people wear short sleeve t-shirts around their homes in the dead of winter. Wear flannel shirts and sweaters or, even better, wear 2-3 layers of clothes and include them all. It isn’t unusual for me to wear a tank top, long sleeve t-shirt, flannel shirt and a sweater on top of that. That’s 4 layers.
Practice the same habit at night. Stop wearing just a t shirt or your summer jammies. Get out the flannel nightgown (your husband will love you anyway). I even wear a long sleeve t-shirt under that. If I felt especially cold, I would wear a stocking hat because so much heat goes out of the top of your head.
- Of course, if you have babies or elderly family members you will have to set the heat higher but you might not need it as high as you think. When my kids were young, we had sleepers made out of blanket material. You have the same thing now but are more often made of fleece or something similar. Instead of using sleepers for pajamas, we would put on a onesy or t shirt, heavy pajamas, socks and booties and then top it all with a sleeper, which was more like a blanket than pajamas.
In some cases, we would top the sleeper with what we called a sleeping sack, which had little mitten like things for their hands. Then we topped it all with a cap. Boy, that made it fun changing a nighttime diaper, especially one that had leaked. These ideas are not for the faint of heart.
- Wear socks and slippers. Put on 1-2 pairs of socks and a warm pair of slippers.
- This may seem obvious but use throws and shawls. Sitting in the evening, I can get chilly. Just laying a throw over my lap and feet can instantly warm me up. I have trouble with snuggies. They seem to get in my way, so I find that a throw and a shawl over my shoulders works better. I know your big he-man husband or son could not handle a shawl, but keep a warm zip up sweat shirt handy for them.
- I love wearing mittens without the fingers. When I first started doing this, I was surprised how something so small could warm me up so much. At times I have been so cold I was going to turn up my heat but instead I put on my mittens. These are especially great when using the computer, hand sewing, reading and other tasks where you use your hands frequently.
- Drink a warm drink. You might have heard this tip over the years, but it really does work. Sometimes, in the evening, if I start to feel really chilled, I will make myself some coffee or tea. Even holding the hot mug before I start drinking warms me right up.
- Close off rooms. If there are rooms that you really aren’t using, you can close off those rooms so you use less heat. Be careful about closing off bathrooms, or other rooms where there is plumbing on an outside wall because if your house isn’t well insulated the pipes in that room could freeze.
Also, if you have forced air heat, where the warm air blows out of air ducts, it is not recommended to close off too many rooms. At one house, our heater stopped working. The repair man said that closing off too many rooms caused the system to overload and blow a breaker. We re-opened some of the vents and re-set the breaker and then it worked fine.
- Decorate with darker or warm colors and lots of heavier, fuzzy warm fabrics. This doesn’t make things warmer but, mentally it really makes a difference.
What not to do:
Be careful using small electric heaters to warm small areas, thinking you are saving by using those. Depending on where you live, the price of your gas or electricity in the area and the age of the heater, it might cost you more to run the electric heater in that one room than to heat the whole house with gas. Like I said, it depends on where you live. For example, in Idaho, electricity was much cheaper than in Kansas so I could heat my whole house inexpensively with a little heater. When I moved back to Kansas and tried that, I almost had a heart attack after I received my first electric bill.
Besides the cost and energy savings, there are a few added bonuses when lowering your heat:
- Less static electricity
- You usually don’t have to use a humidifier
- Your nose and throat aren’t usually as dry all the time, which is supposed to help prevent or reduce sinus infections and other respiratory problems
- Your lips and skin won’t get as dry
- Your eyes won’t get as dry. Recently, when I was visiting family, my eyes became red and hurt so badly that I thought I was going to have to go to the eye doctor when I got home, but it turned out they hurt because they were dried out.
I know different areas of the country are more humid than others and that other factors affect dry eyes and sinuses but, no matter where I have lived, I have had less difficulty with these issues than friends and family who lived in the same area.
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