10 Ways to Save Money on Your Heating Bill

A woman sitting on a bed in sweat pants and a hoodie, holding a coffee mug and a book.

There are enough expenses in life that you can't avoid or reduce; fortunately, your heating bill is not one of them. With the temperature dropping significantly in various parts of the world over the next few weeks, some homeowners and renters are dreading the increase in their heating bill. Although you probably can't skip out on paying your heating bill altogether without freezing in your own home, there are a number of things you can do to bring it down.

1. Insulate

Insulation being installed in an attic.

Having a well insulated house will definitely help keep your heating bill down, but not all homes were properly insulated when they were built. You should be able to easily tell if your home is well insulated or not by simply recognizing if there is a huge change in temperature at various times of the day and year. The easiest way to fix this problem is to top up the insulation in your attic and your basement. Chances are, once you insulate the attic your problem will be solved.

2. Replace or Repair Your Furnace

Old furnaces are inefficient when compared to new options on the market. They can cost a lot more to run than a new, energy efficient model. If you have an older furnace, you should look into replacing it. However, even newer furnaces need to be serviced regularly to make sure that they are clean and running well, which will make your heating bill a lot cheaper.

3. Check for Drafts

A lot of older houses have worn and torn weather stripping around doors and windows, which creates drafts and lets cold air in. This can cause a lot of homeowners and renters to turn up their furnace rather than deal with these leaks, mostly because they're unaware, and that obviously leads to higher heating bills.

Drafts can also come from leaks around electrical boxes because the insulation isn't always installed correctly. To stop these leaks, remove cover plates around outlets and fill in small gaps with acrylic latex caulk, and large gaps with foam sealant.

4. Close or Open Curtains

A couple of windows with shades rolled up.

During the day you should take advantage of the sun's natural heat by opening your curtains and blinds to let it in. Letting the sunlight in will also help you get more vitamin D in those winter months when so many people are susceptible to Seasonal affective disorder. At night, close the curtains and blinds to keep the heat in. Curtains and blinds can add an extra layer of insulation to your windows.

5. Turn the Thermostat Down

Chances are, you can turn your thermostat down about 20 degrees without noticing a big difference. By doing this, you can reduce your heating bill by five to 10 percent. Even if you're used to a warm house, you'll be surprised by how quickly you can get used to the lower temperature.

Also, lower the temperature by another five degrees before you go to bed and when you leave the house. There really is no need to heat an empty house (and studies show people actually get a better night's sleep in cooler temperatures).

6. Clear Vents

Take a tour around your house and check the vents in each room. Make sure that there isn't anything blocking or clogging them, so that the warm air can easily flow out. You will also want to make sure that you don't have any obstacles in front of a vent, like a bed or couch.

7. Put on Layers

A stack of colorful blankets.

My husband and I agree that if you have to wear layers outside of the house because it's too cold, then you should wear layers inside the house, too—and vice versa in the summer. Get in the habit of wearing more layers around the house in the winter, like extra socks or slippers, warm sweaters, and even cozy blankets during TV time.

8. Ceiling Fans

When it's warm outside, you want your ceiling fans to spin counterclockwise so the blades push the air downwards, providing a cool breeze. However, in the winter have the fan spin at a low speed in a clockwise direction. This helps move hot air downwards toward your living space and keeps it circulating around your room.

9. Lock Doors and Windows

Finally, make sure to lock your doors and windows. Locking them helps to push everything together and create a tighter seal, which then helps to eliminate drafts.

10. Close off Empty Rooms

A hand opening or closing an interior door.

If there is a room, or even multiple rooms, in your house that you don't use very often, you should get in the habit of keeping the doors closed. Also, close any vents in unused rooms, too. That way you are only heating rooms you actually use. However, always keep your basement warm, even if you don't go down there often. Heat rises and a warm basement will help keep your first floor warm.