Winter is coming. And unfortunately, heating a house is expensive, especially with inflation and rising energy costs.
There are ways to cut costs and reduce your spending on energy. You can save money by reducing your need for heating, prepping your house for the winter, and making energy-efficient choices to conserve the heat you do use.
Save Money on Heating by Reducing Your Energy Consumption
The first step to saving money on heating is to wait as long as possible before turning the heat on. Many people turn the knob as soon as the temperature hits the forties, but if you can brave those chilly nights, you can save tons of money each year.
When the temperature plummets below freezing, keeping the heat off is no longer an option. However, you can keep it set to a chilly but liveable temperature. Although the fifties can be a stretch, setting your thermostat to the sixties all winter long can hep you save on heating.
How to Stay Warm While Keeping the Heat off (or down)
If you’re keeping the house brisk to save on your heating costs, you need some strategies to keep warm. Here’s what you can do to stay warm without turning the thermostat too high.
One of the best ways to stay warm in a brisk fifty-degree house is to wear tons of layers. Wear warm pajama pants, slippers, a fuzzy sweater, and a warm cozy robe.
Warm indoor wear helps when the temperature is fifty degrees or above, but when it gets below that, sweeten the mixture with toasty throw blankets. What’s the point of winter if you can’t snuggle up under some warm blankets?
It’s stew season for a reason! The warm hearty stews are not only delicious, but they warm you up too! Holding that hot bowl of deliciousness while you slowly savor every bite is almost like heaven on a cool fall day.
The same is true of tea, coffee, hot chocolate, and warm apple cider. Holding a warm cup for a half-hour helps the cold disappear for a while. It warms and soothes you from the inside out.
Sunlight is your Friend
During the summer, standing in a bit of sunlight can be miserable. But in the wintertime, it can do wonders for helping you warm your house.
Don’t be afraid to open those drapes and let some sunlight in. The radiant daylight will help warm your house naturally and can also help you save energy on lighting. Every little bit helps.
A brand-new space heater is the real star of our stay warm show. These babies warm up a room!
Space heaters run on electricity, but it’s much cheaper to heat a single room to a comfortable level with an electric space heater than it is to heat the entire house.
The downside of space heaters is the propensity to cause fires. You have to be extremely careful when using one.
Never ever leave a space heater on when you leave the house. In fact, you should unplug it when you aren’t going to be home just to be safe. Keep them at least three feet away from any type of flammable material (including carpets – so never place it on a carpeted floor!). Also, ensure you get a space heater with an automatic shut-off if it tips over.
Taking these precautions will ensure your space heater remains safe and effective all winter.
How to Prepare Your House for Winter
The next big way to save money on heating is to keep the heat you produce inside the house. There are so many ways for it to escape, especially if you have an older fixer-upper. Keeping that sweet heat inside the house will save you money on your heating costs.
Here are a few things to look for that even the novice DIYer can handle.
The biggest culprit for escaping heat is the windows. Many of them have tiny drafts, and if they are single-pane windows, then they have absolutely no insulation. That needs to be fixed.
Luckily, there’s an easy do-it-yourself solution to drafty windows, and that’s plastic. You can get a DIY-window insulation kit for easy, no-fuss insulation, or simply use plastic sheeting and double-sided tape.
The plastic and tape options doesn’t have as powerful of a seal as the kits, but it’s a lower cost easy alternative that will make a noticeable difference. . Losing the window is a small price to pay for saving all that warmth.
The biggest job in keeping the heat in is ensuring your home is properly insulated. Check the attic and crawl spaces for proper insulation, and make sure any present is rated for winter.
Though it seems overwhelming, installing insulation isn’t that difficult. All you need is the right type of insulation, gloves, and a staple gun. Lay the insulation out, hold it in place, and staple it to secure it to the wall/ceiling.
The final easy fix to keep heat in the house is to seal off the doorways. Lowes carries everything you need for weather stripping doors from Lowes, and they have a simple tool for helping you determine what you need.
Installing weather stripping is straightforward. It simply goes in the creases of all the doors. Weather stripping keeps the cold air from leaking in via closed doorways.
Energy Conserving Tips To Reduce Your Heating Bill
If you’ve already winterized your house and don’t want to feel cold all winter, there are still some additional ways to save energy.
Here are some additional things you can do to reduce your electricity bills during winter.
1. Use a Programmable Thermostat
A programmable thermostat will help you stay in control of your home’s temperature. It’s usually worthwhile to change the temperature of your house if you’re going to be gone for 8 hours, but no one wants to manually switch that dial four times a day.
Instead, get a programmable thermostat and set it to automatically warm your house about an hour before you will arrive home, and an hour before you wake up. Doing so will reduce your energy use without sacrificing your comfort.
2. Chose Energy-Efficient Appliances
A great way to conserve energy overall is to use energy-efficient appliances. Every type of appliance, from your dishwasher to your fridge to your dryer comes in energy-efficient options.
It may not be cost-effective to replace perfectly good appliances, but when it’s time for a new one, be sure to look for that energy star label.
3. Conserve Hot Water
Long hot showers are heaven, especially in the cold of winter. However, they can be wasteful. It takes a lot of energy to heat water, even if you have a tankless water heater.
Try to limit your time in the shower and lower the temperature slightly. Opt for showers instead of baths. Wash your clothes on the cold setting. These small changes will save you money on your energy bills over time.
4. Conduct Maintenance on your HVAC
Maintenance on your heating and cooling systems can be expensive. But preventive care on these systems is the best way to ensure that they run efficiently, and will help you save on energy over time.
Regular maintenance on these systems can also help you discover a problem before it becomes severe, saving you even more money. Another bonus is that many of these systems are two-in-one (cooling and heating), so regular maintenance will also help you save on cooling costs.
5. Be Smart with Lighting
There are quite a few ways to reduce energy costs when it comes to lighting. The easiest way is to just turn off the lights and open the curtains. This lets natural energy light your house and helps save energy. But you can also choose energy-efficient light bulbs to light your house when natural lighting just won’t cut it.
When it comes to light bulbs, there are tons of options. Incandescent bulbs are the traditional, cheaper ones and are the least energy efficient. Compact Fluorescent light bulbs are much more energy-efficient, but they do need to be recycled.
LEDs are the most energy-efficient, but they are also the most expensive. However, they use almost 25% less energy and last way longer than regular incandescent lights – so if you have the money to pay upfront, they are definitely worth it over time.
FAQs About Saving Money on Heating
Here are researched answers to the two most common questions asked in regards to saving money on heating.
Does Turning Down the Heat Save Money?
A lot of people like to keep the heat super low while they are away, and pump it up when they get home. The idea is that keeping it low all day will help them save money on heating. The other school of thought is that it’s not worth it – the energy saved from having the heat low all day is canceled out by the energy that it takes to get the house to your ideal temperature. So which school is right?
The consensus is that if you are going to be gone for more than 8 hours, turning the temperature down actually does help. According to the US Department of Energy, you can save up to 10% on heating each year by turning your thermostat down 7-10 degrees for eight hours daily.
Crank that baby down 10-15 degrees while you are away, and turn it back to the ideal temperature once you get home. Using a programmable thermostat makes it much easier, as you can set it to start warming before you’re expected to arrive so you won’t even notice the chill.
Should I Turn the Heat Higher to Heat the House Faster?
Turning the heat higher will not heat the house faster. According to professional HVAC companies, turning the heat higher will not heat the house faster, but it will make your system run longer, which isn’t good for the system’s overall life.
What Should I set the Thermostat at in the Winter?
The ideal temperature for everyone is different. If you want to save money on heating, set the thermostat at a lower temperature than you would normally be comfortable with and follow some of the tips above to keep warm. You can set it a bit higher if you have a super cheap or efficient heating system or if you aren’t worried about heating costs.
But if you want to save a ton of money on heating, set it to the lowest temperature you can stand to remain comfortable.
The thermostats in my house are at a brisk fifty degrees! That’s warm enough to be comfortable with blankets and tea but also low enough that I won’t burn through all my oil in two weeks.
Have a Warm Winter for Less
Energy is expensive, but heating your house doesn’t have to break the bank. Follow these tips to keep warm all winter long without busting your budget!
Melanie launched Partners in Fire in 2017 to document her quest for financial independence with a mix of finance, fun, and solving the world’s problems. She’s self educated in personal finance and passionate about fighting systematic problems that prevent others from achieving their own financial goals. She also loves travel, anthropology, gaming and her cats.