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Cold temperatures are not over in many parts of the world, so part three of our series on how to cut your utility bills is all about heating costs. If it’s already feeling like summer where you are, then just save this post to refer back to in the fall and winter!
Other posts in this series:
Part One: Water, Trash, Electricity + General Advice
Part Two: Internet, Phone, and Cable
How to Cut Your Utility Bills | Part Three: Heating Costs
Seal It Up
If you are looking at your door and you can see light all the way around the door coming in, this needs to be fixed (the same with windows). You can try two things: Weather Stripping and a can of Great Stuff. The weather stripping goes around the door to make a seal when it is shut. The Great Stuff is spray foam that expands and fills holes and gaps that may be in a wall or around pipes and other places.
Replace Your Air Filters
Replace your furnace air filters more often. A dirty air filter can make your furnace work a lot harder and use more energy. You should replace the filter every two to three months.
Take Care of Your Water Heater
Try insulating your water heaters and pipes. If you cover your water heater with an insulated water heater blanket, it can help retain heat so the unit uses less energy to heat hot water.You can also save money on your hot water bill by decreasing the temperature of the heater. Most hot water heaters are set by the company to heat at 140 degrees, which is hot enough to scald you! Just set it down to 120 and you will save 3-5% on your water bill. That fix costs you nothing.
Think About Insulation
It won’t hurt to make sure your attic space is adequately insulated. You can check out the US Department’s Recommended Home Insulation to see what the appropriate level of insulation is for your area.
Get a Programmable Thermostat
Another thing that can help is getting a programmable thermostat. These start around $20 and will turn the temperature up or down when you aren’t home. Many have a program for each day of the week so you can change settings for weekends and weekdays. If you’re home all the time, at least have it set to turn the air up/down while you sleep. These start around $20 and will turn the air up or down when you aren’t normally home. Many have a program for each day of the week so you can change settings for weekends and weekdays. If you are home all the time at least have it set to turn the air up/down while you sleep.
Install New Windows
Are your windows single-pane? If so, you could save lots by installing new double-pane thermal windows. EnergyStar.gov states that you could save 7-24% on your heating bill if you fix those leaky windows.
Close Some Air Vents
Look at closing air vents in rooms you don’t use a lot and keeping those doors shut. Remember not to close more than 30% of your vents as it will put too much strain on the system.
Seek Some Advice
For more tips, see if your electricity company does in-home assessments. Many offer these free of charge to come through and give you tips on things to fix. You’ll be surprised how many of their tips are easy things you can do yourself. They may also give you freebies like new shower heads, electrical outlet insulators, or light bulbs.
Sign up for budget billing to make your monthly bill the same every month. This doesn’t save you anything other than a small heart attack when you open the bill after subzero temperatures in January. It makes your bill the same amount every month. If you end up over paying throughout the year then your last bill of the month will be a lot less. If you underpay they spread out the amount over the next year’s bills. You could end up with a December bill of $12! To have the set rate every month is very helpful as you plan your budget and a big stress reliever in the winter months.
Any other tips on how to cut your utility bills, specifically heating costs? Let me know in the comments!
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