Heating a Home for Less

Posted on 09/10/2008

You’ve barely unpacked from your summer vacation, but it’s already time to start thinking about winter. Why? Because heating your home is expected to cost 20% more this year compared to last, according to the Energy Information Administration. But there are simple things you can do to heat your home for less. Even though it may still feel more like summer, it’s time to start preparing for winter.

Audit Your Home
Do you know how energy-efficient your home is? Find out with a quick audit using this free Home Energy Saver online guide. Plug in your zip code, answer some questions about your home and you’ll receive a list of suggested tips for saving big money on your energy bills.

Give Windows an Energy Upgrade
They let in natural light, give you a nice view and provide a good vantage point for spying on your cute neighbor, but windows can be a cold weather culprit. Estimates show they account for 10-25% of your heating bill. There are easy ways to make them more efficient like keeping drapes open during the day and closed at night. Washing windows isn’t fun, but keeping the windows on the south side of your home extra clean will let in some winter sun.

Bundle Up the Water Heater
Those long, hot showers come with a cost– roughly 13% of your utility bill, in fact. Keep your energy bills lower by insulating your water heater. Also try insulating the first six feet of hot and cold water pipes connected to the water heater. And if you’re really brave, lower the thermostat on your water heater so the unit doesn’t have to work so hard.

Consider a Co-Op
The winter outlook for the Northeast is chilling. Eight million households use heating oil and can expect to spend an average of $2,725 on fuel this winter. One way to get a lower price is by considering a co-op. According to CompareFurnace.com, a fuel co-op is a group of homes that combine their buying power in order to negotiate better prices on heating oil. This can save as much as 20% compared to individuals and with that kind of savings you can afford a new electric blanket.

Adjust Your Thermostat
Keeping your home at just the right temperature accounts for nearly half of your utility bill. Save money heating your home this winter by investing in a programmable thermostat. This nifty gadget lets your home get a little cooler while you’re away and kicks up the heat so it’s nice a toasty when you’re home.

By Alison Storm

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Shyloh Jacobs

Posted on 01.12.11 at 8:04 AM

This is so true! Winter is the time you REALLY need to find good heating contractors lest you be left in the cold!

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