How to Reduce Heating Costs
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How to Reduce Heating Costs

This article was written as a response to the question:
Knowing how to reduce heating costs improves energy efficiency, energy costs, and makes your wallet fatter. Simple tips can yield big savings.

Energy costs are through the roof these days.  With winter around the corner, most residents in northern climates are thinking about upcoming heating bills--and not fondly.  There are many tools residents can use to reduce heating costs.  The benefits aren't just financial; when you reduce energy costs you also increase energy efficiency and help the environment.  To reduce heating cost in your home, follow all or just a few of these simple tips.

1. Stop letting heat (and your money!) escape.  Any part of your home that lets air out lets heat out.  Heat costs money, so visualize money oozing out of those cracks, crevices, doors and windows.  Go through your home and find every space where air comes in or out to reduce heating costs. 

  • Caulk it: use caulk to cover cracks around windows and door to reduce heating costs.
  • Weatherstrip it: weatherstrip every door that leads outside, to a basement, or to a garage.  You can weatherstrip most doors for $10 to $20 and save far more in energy costs.
  • Foam it: buy foam in a can and go through your basement and attic, sealing all small crevices, areas around pipes, etc. You also critter-proof your house when you do this, preventing rodents and larger insects from entering as you reduce heating costs.  Bonus!
  • Plastic it: if your home has older windows, use plastic sheeting kits to winterize windows.  The plastic can be used on the inside AND outside to dramatically reduce energy costs.

2. Cook more from scratch.  You save money on restaurant bills or convenience foods, and you heat your house at the same time.  The microwave doesn't work for this tip to reduce heating costs.  You have to use the oven or stove.  Make large batches to save energy costs from using the appliance.  Baking bread, pies, roasts, or cooking simple stirfries saves food costs and reduces heating costs at the same time.

3. Use a hot water bottle at night.  Got cold feet?  Use this old traveler's tip.  Take a hot water bottle and fill it with hot water.  Tuck it in at the bottom of your bed.  It will keep your feet warm for a few hours under the covers and help you lower the thermostat and reduce heating costs.

4. Wear a knit cap indoors.  You can't use your baseball cap here.  You need a good old knit cap, like grandma makes.  Heat loss from your head is high, so wearing a snug hat indoors reduces heating costs by letting you lower the thermostat.

5. Space heat the most used areas and lower heat to the rest.  Do you have a second floor used only for sleep time?  Don't heat it during the day.  Put up a blanket in the stairwell and lower the temperature to lower energy costs.  Use electric space heaters to heat specific rooms you're in to reduce heating costs.  If the family congregates around the kitchen, go back to Step 2 to cook and bake as a way to increase heat and reduce heating cost.

6. Put heat-producing appliances in areas where people congregate to lower energy costs.  Computers can put off heat as they run.  Use that heat to your advantage.  Do you run a water distiller?  Put it in your bedroom at night, or in the living room where people are gathered.  Think about which appliances put off heat (which you're paying for anyway via electric costs) and use that ambient heat to your advantage as you reduce heating costs.

7. Blankets, pets, small children, people off the street (ok, kidding on that last one).  All help to keep you warm if you snuggle.  The mammal factor for reducing heating costs cannot be minimized.

8. Follow the tried and true methods to reduce heating costs:

  • Wear a sweater
  • Take a warm bath before bed
  • Drink hot tea, coffee, or broth
  • Put down area carpets
  • Wear slippers
  • Sleep together for body heat
  • Sleep in winter-rated sleeping bags on your beds
  • Lower the thermostat as low as possible
  • Use sunny days to get radiant heat through windows

And last of all to reduce heating costs--keep the door closed! You don't live in a barn! (Said in the best scolding mother's voice)

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Comments (3)

Also, keep an eye on the temperature outside. If it is warmer out than in, definitely open the windows and let the heat in.

Great tips!

Good article