Tips for Cutting down on Heating Expenses

• Turning down the thermostat even a few degrees helps a lot.

• Moist air feels warmer. Make sure you maintain adequate humidity during the more dry winter months. Open the dishwasher to dry dishes and release steam and hanging clothes to dry will not only cut down on your electric bill but also add humidity.

• Wash laundry in cold water only. This is very cost effective and most clothes wash just fine in cold water only.

• Do you have naturally warm areas in your home? Make them work for you. My warm rooms are the kitchen and the furnace room. I keep the furnace room door open with a small fan blowing out into my family room. The heat gleaned just from that is enough to keep the family room warm. When I do a big baking day, I also run a fan that blow the warm air out into the remainder of the home.

• On a good blustery day, get down on your hands and knees and feel around. A stick of burning incense helps to find drafty areas, but even just feeling for cold areas with your hands will help. Cutting down on those drafts will go a long way in cutting down on your heating bill! A trip to the local hardware store will help you find a bevy of cost cutting products, but simple, inexpensive things like homemade draft dodgers, towels, and window quilts will be effective as well.

• Turn down your hot water.

• Do you have a fireplace? Most people don’t realize that modern fireplaces with deeper fire boxes, are not effective heat sources and the reality is, they suck air from your home. You actually LOSE heat when you run your fire place unless you have fireplace doors that you keep closed (basically going just for the ambience) or you can close off that room and minimize the flue draft. If you really want your fireplace to work for you, consider fireplace inserts, inset stoves and that sort of thing.

• Put on an extra layer of clothes if you’re always cold. Adding a layer on top such as a sweater or sweatshirt OR a layer underneath, like silk long underwear help a lot.

• Wear a hat to bed. The human body loses a huge amount of heat through the top of the head. Keep your head warm and you’ll be warmer. If you’re a bit chilled crawling into bed, make a microwave cozie to warm it up first!

• Keep a lap quilt for those times when you’re sitting down and reading a good book and getting cold versus turning up the heat. Sticking that microwave cozie under the quilt with you is pretty nice, too.

• Consider major home improvements. We have our garage under one end of our home and that end of the house was always cold. The old wooden doors had almost no insulation value (R-value), let in snow and cold air from underneath and barely kept the garage above freezing. We invested about $1800 to have modern, well insulated doors installed and the results were amazing! The average garage temp is now about 45 degrees, that end of the house is much warmer and we have averaged about $400 LESS in heating expenses per year. Major things like new windows and doors can be a bit more costly and take more planning and saving, but will be worth it in the long run.

Tammy Paquin is the owner and publisher of frugal-families.com.  You can reprint this article with an active link back to Frugal-Families.com

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