Helpful Tips for Lowering Heating Costs this Winter


January 23rd, 2015

 

When winter weather hits, many people start turning up their thermostats. Below are a few tips that may help you lower your heating bill during these cold months:

 

  1. Find the best power company. In many areas, you have more than one choice for gas, oil, or electricity. If this is the case, it’s best to shop around and compare rates. Consider how long the company has been in business, and ask about rates before signing up for service. Be sure to read consume reviews online as well.
  2. Do not choose an energy provider based only on price. Even if their prices are lower, some new providers may have poorer customer service. Consider all factors before making your choice.
  3. Ask about flat rates. Many providers offer flat rates, which means you pay the same amount every month regardless of the amount of energy you use. This makes it easier to plan your monthly expenses and eliminates the worry of receiving a large heating bill.
  4. Check the reading on the oil tank before and after filling. There may be discrepancies between these two points, so it is always important to check. Not all gauges work flawlessly – watch for any deterioration.
  5. Search for group oil purchase options. In some areas, there are co-ops or other services available to provide lower oil prices. They work by developing a committed customer base, so buyers usually have to commit to making regular purchases to enjoy lower prices.
  6. Look for local heating assistance programs. From one-time payment assistance to regular discounts, most states have one or more programs to help consumers pay their heating bills. This is especially true for low-income individuals and families.
  7. Talk to the energy company. Whether you have gas, oil, or electric heat, energy companies are usually able to work out payment plans for large heating bills. They may also offer discounts or reductions for people who are unable to pay in some circumstances.

 

In addition to these ways to lower your heating bill, it is also important to conserve energy. Below are just a few ways that could help make your home more energy efficient.

Maximize Efficiency:

  • Keep your furnace clean, lubricated, and properly adjusted. Regular maintenance can save up to 5% on your heating bill.
  • Consider replacing an old furnace. Today’s furnaces are about 25% more efficient than they were in the 1980s.

Minimize Heat Loss:

  • Seal up any leaks. Sealing and insulating duct systems can cut heating costs by as much as 40%.
  • Wrap an insulation blanket around your hot water heater. This is especially valuable for older water heaters and can save up to 10% on water-heating costs.
  • Don’t use an open-hearth fireplace for heat. The heated air that’s drawn from your home and up the chimney offsets almost all of the warmth that a fire provides.
  • Keep your fireplace damper closed when you don’t have a fire burning. This free and easy fix will prevent up to 8% of your furnace-heated air from going up the chimney.

Conserve Heat:

  • Turn down the thermostat a little. For every two degrees you lower the thermostat, you’ll save about 4% on heating bills. Consider a programmable thermostat. One of these can help cut your heating costs as much as 20%.
  • Reduce your hot water temperature. You can save 7-11% of your water heating costs by keeping the water heater at the “normal” setting or 120¬∞.
  • Shorten showers. Showers account for 2/3 of your water-heating costs, so even shaving off a few minutes can help.