Simple Ways to Reduce Your Heating Bill

How to make sure you're not paying more than you need to.

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Although it has been a very mild winter, many people are still looking for ways to reduce their home heating bill. You can’t control the weather, but the following tips will help keep your heating bills under control.

[See 50 Ways to Improve Your Finances in 2012.]

Wear warmer clothes. It doesn't cost anything to warm yourself by wearing warmer clothes. It makes more sense to wear thick pants and a sweatshirt during the winter than pay to keep your home several degrees warmer so that you can wear shorts and a T-shirt around the house.

Use a programmable thermostat. There is no point in keeping your house toasty warm when you are not there. Many people believe that it is more expensive to reheat the house after being gone all day, but that simply isn't true. If you set the thermostat to start heating your home shortly before you arrive, you will find that you can arrive to a warm home while not wasting heat during the day. You can also use a programmable thermostat to turn down the heat at night when you are warm and cozy under the covers.

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.

[See 10 Energy-Efficient Home Improvements.]

Get a home energy assessment. An assessment will help you find where heat is escaping your house. Then you can seal any leaks, replace weatherstripping, caulk around windows and doors, and take any other recommended steps to keep heat from escaping your home. You can visit to find out what is covered in a typical home energy assessment.

Use zone heating. This means that you only heat the rooms that you actually use rather than heating the entire 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 turn the heat for the rest of the house off or down to just warm enough to keep the pipes from freezing. You don't need to buy an expensive infrared heater. Spending $20 to $40 on a space heater at your local big-box store will get you a heater that produces the same amount of heat and is just as efficient.

[See How to Get Discounts on Almost Everything.]

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 does not work. Studies have shown that closing registers in unused rooms actually increases energy usage due to increased duct leakage.

Using these tips should allow you to reduce your home heating bills. When it gets warmer, you can use the same principles to save on your cooling bills as well.

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