How to Save on Heating Costs

You don't have to suffer through the cold in order to save money.

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With the bitter cold much of the nation saw in the last month, many people are seeing a dramatic increase in their heating bills. You can’t control the weather, but the following tips will help keep your heating bills under control.

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  • Wear warmer clothes. This is common sense but some people like to keep their home warm enough to wear shorts and t-shirts all winter long. It makes more sense to wear winter clothes in winter. Try wearing clothes such as sweatshirts, hoodies, sweaters, long pants, and warm socks. If you are sitting around watching TV or reading you can bundle up under a blanket. This will allow you to turn the thermostat down a few degrees and still be comfortable.
    • Use a programmable thermostat. This will allow you to turn the heat down at night when you are sleeping and also when you are away for extended periods during the day. There is no need to keep your house warm and toasty when you are not even there or are snuggled up in bed. If you can’t afford a programmable you can just manually turn your thermostat down 5 to 10 degrees when you are going to be away.
      • Open your curtains during the day. This allows the sun in to help heat your home. At sundown close the curtains to help trap heat the heat.
        • Seal any leaks. Check the weather stripping around your windows and doors. If the weather stripping is worn out or gone replace it. Make sure that any doors have a sweep attached to help keep air from coming in under the door.
          • Use caulking to seal any cracks around windows and doors. Even a small crack can let in a large amount of cold air.
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            • Use zone heating. This means you heat the area you are actually in rather than the whole house. One way to do this is to use a space heater in the area you are using. Depending on the outside temperature you can then either turn the heat for the rest of the house off or down to just warm enough to keep the pipes from freezing. Don’t fall for the infrared heater scam. You don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on the miracle heaters you see advertised on TV and in the papers. Spending $20 to $40 on a space heater at your local department store will get you a heater that is just as efficient.
              • If you have a forced air heating system do not close the vents to unused rooms. This is commonly done to save heat but it doesn’t work. Studies have shown that closing registers in unused rooms actually increases energy usage due to increased duct leakage.
              • Combining these tips should allow you to save money on your heating bills. It will not be too long until the summer cooling season begins. Using these same concepts can allow you to save on your summer cooling bills as well.

                Andy Hough writes about frugality and living well on a small income at