5 WAYS TO SAVE ON HEATING COSTS
Posted by Steph Perine on Feb 10, 2019
Winter weather can be unpredictable. Every area is prone to weather extremes. Whether you’re using your heat constantly, or are lucky enough only to need to turn it on occasionally, it’s impossible to know when, how often, or for how long you may need to have your heat on. And these unknowns can lead to severe sticker shock when you get your heating bill. You may not be able to control the unpredictability of winter weather throughout the country, but these tips can help you lower the bill by changing the way you manage your thermostat.
1. Dress in Layers
Weather experts encourage people to dress in layers before they go outside into sub-zero temperatures. Dressing in layers and bundling up when you’re inside will help you feel more comfortable, and you’ll be able to set your thermostat at a lower temperature. If everyone in your house dresses in layers, you won’t have to deal with the hassle that arises when people in your home have different cold tolerance levels. The best part of dressing in layers is that you can always take something off if you get too warm. Wear warm socks and slippers to keep your feet warm. Doing so will lessen the likelihood that the rest of your body will feel as cold because the discomfort starts at the extremities – your hands, your head, and your feet.
2. Use Winter Decorating as a Way to Warm Up Your Home
Help your family members feel more comfortable in bed at night, and when they wake up in the morning. Opt for flannel sheets. And instead of a lightweight comforter or a thermal blanket, put wool blankets, down quilts, or down alternative comforters on every bed. Although our bodies generate heat while we sleep, if you’re not used to living in a cooler environment, you may feel cold. Flannel sheets, wool blankets, and weighty comforters will warm you up fast.
Put decorative, but functional throws in the common areas of your home so that your guests and family members can use them when they’re watching television or spending time together. Over-sized throw pillows will inspire people to curl up together, allowing their bodies to take advantage of the heat they generate.
Purchase thermal curtains because they’re effective at blocking cold during the winter. On the flip side, they’ll keep heat out during the summer months when your air conditioner is cooling the home. Thermal or insulated curtains create a barrier between the windows in your house and the outdoor areas.
3. Take Advantage of Passive Solar Energy
During the warmest part of the day, your south and west-facing windows will generate the most heat. Even if you don’t have high-end energy-efficient windows, you can still take advantage of the sun’s natural heating by opening blinds to let sunlight in when it’s at different positions in the sky at various times during the day.
4. Consider a Programmable Thermostat
Programmable thermostats (also called Smart Thermostats) are the most effective way to lower your heating costs. But they can also help you save money on your air conditioning costs all summer. The reason they’re called “programmable” is that these types of thermostats let you “pre-program” temperature settings for optimal comfort and energy-efficiency in your home. A programmable thermostat will let you turn the heat down when no one is in the house, turn it up before you get home, and lower the temperature at night.
Be sure you purchase a programmable thermostat that is compatible with your heating system. Use the government Energy Star guide on choosing a programmable thermostat to help you understand your options. Some utility companies offer incentives to make the purchase of a programmable thermostat more affordable.
5. Learn About Provider and Rate Plan Choices
The de-regulation of the utility industry makes it possible for people to pick their providers and rate plans in many areas. But your choices will depend on the type of services, and the variety of providers there are in your city or state.
Most companies offer plans that involve contracts of anywhere from six months to two years. And you’ll find rates listed as variable and fixed. You’ll save the most money by choosing a fixed price and opting for the longest possible contract so your rates can’t go up while the deal is in place.