Consumer Tips: Save Money on Your Home Heating Costs This Winter

Following these easy tips can help keep your power bill from going up when the outside temps go down

House in winter snow / Save Money on Winter Home Heating Costs
Image: Pexels
December 05, 2017

Is your power bill going up as the temperatures outside fall?

Don't worry! With just a little bit of work and these simple tips, you can save some serious cash this winter when it comes to your home heating costs.

Winter Home Heating Tips

  1. Set your thermostat a little lower in the winter.
  2. Lowering your thermostat temperature by just a few degrees can save a lot of money over the cold weather months, especially if you use electric heat. After a brief adjustment period, you probably won't even notice the difference!

    Additional tip: Have you ever noticed how warm your house gets when you're cooking something in the oven? In the winter, lower your thermostat several degrees about an hour or two before cooking or before guests arrive. You won't overheat the house that way!

  3. For your whole-house fan, use the 'auto' setting instead of 'on' for power savings of up to $15 per month.
  4. With the whole-house fan on, you're pushing air through the ductwork in the attic or crawlspace and through unconditioned space. It will either heat up or cool down slightly while passing through, meaning your system will kick in more often to keep the temperature constant.

  5. Have your furnace serviced each fall.
  6. Servicing the unit will improve efficiency and can help prevent catastrophic failures caused by lack of maintenance. Compare it to changing the oil in your car and you can understand the importance of doing it!

  7. Seal and insulate leaky ductwork.
  8. This helps ensure that the airflow distribution system serving your equipment operates at peak efficiency. Compare it trying to suck water from a glass through a straw with tiny holes in it.

  9. Clean or replace air conditioner and furnace filters once a month or as needed.
  10. A restricted filter can drastically reduce efficiency and air quality. Dirty filters can increase operating costs by 20% or more and make it harder for the system to do its job.

  11. Install a programmable thermostat.
  12. You can save money by keeping your house cooler than normal when you're out, and keeping the setting at 68 degrees when you're home.

  13. Open your foundation vents each spring.
  14. Close them in the fall if your home has a crawl space.

  15. Don't close off too many rooms in your house.
  16. Heating and cooling units work best with airflow.

  17. Make sure the fireplace flue is closed if you aren't using it.
  18. Fireplaces lose about 90% of the heat they produce. For every $100 spent on wood, you get $10 worth of heat. Also, consider investing in glass doors.

  19. If you installed press-on window tinting on windows that receive a lot of sunlight, remove the tinting in the winter to let heat in.
  20. You can put it back on when it warms up again.

  21. Don't use portable heaters often.
  22. Running a portable electric heater constantly could cost $100 or more in energy use per month.

  23. When remodeling, consider replacing single-pane windows with double-pane windows with high-performance glass.
  24. In warmer climates, select windows with selective coatings to reduce heat gain.

  25. Consider adding additional insulation to your home.
  26. Insulation can be blown into walls or layered in the attic or crawlspace areas. Doing so can create a thicker blanket for your home. Attic insulation is by far one of the best defenses you can have against heat loss and gain. R-19 or higher is recommended. Insulation is also a tax-deductible expense!

  27. Allow ceiling fans to shoulder some of the cooling work.
  28. They circulate air, which helps rooms feel cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter by almost three degrees.

Get Connected with Consumer Connections

Stay up-to-date about issues that really matter! Get the Consumer Connections newsletter!

We're committed to providing you with information you need to make you a better, more informed consumer. Whether it's a vehicle recall, a product recall, or a new scam, we feature it in Consumer Connections.

So why not give it a try? Go on. All of your friends are doing it. It's completely free and comes just once a week.

Counting calories is no longer the only worry consumers may have about fast food. Environmental group Silent Spring Institute has released a new study that claims that the greaseproof packaging holding some fast food products may contain possibly dangerous fluorinated chemicals that can seep into your food.

Do you use reusable grocery bags? If you are like many consumers, chances are that you have taken advantage of these heavy duty bags to reduce plastic bag waste in landfills, increase the amount of groceries you can carry, or any combination of factors. But did you know that failing to clean these bags regularly can put your health at risk?

Any time your power goes out due to high winds, snow/ice, a severe thunderstorm, hurricane, flood, fire, or any other electrical failure, the safety of the food inside your refrigerator and freezer is immediately jeopardized. Knowing how to determine if food is safe and how to keep it safe will help you minimize the potential loss of food to spoilage and reduce the risk of foodborne illness.

Bargain hunters already save money regularly by cutting coupons and shopping during sales. However, there are many other ways consumers can save money when shopping—ways that stores don't tell them about. Combining these shopping strategies with coupons and sales may help you save as much as possible!