Ways To Save On Your Heating Bill This Winter

'House-Warming' List: How To Cut Down On Your Next Heating Bill

January 17, 2018

Angie Schrunk By Angie Schrunk
Security National Bank Market President

Jack Frost doesn’t just nip at your nose — he also takes a bite out of your wallet. Luckily, as the temperature drops, there are plenty of simple things you can do around the house to make your home more energy efficient.

Here are 10 free or low-cost measures you can take this winter, to save on your heating bill:

1. TURN DOWN THE THERMOSTAT 1 DEGREE.

Estimated savings: $5-10/month
Put on some warm slippers, a blanket and cuddle up —because the government's Energy Savers website says that even cutting 1 degree on the thermostat can save you 3-5 percent on your next heating bill. At the very least, try turning down the heater when you go to work, or when no one’s home!

2. Change your air filter more often. 

Estimated savings: $10-12/month
If you run your heater every day during the winter, it’s a good idea to change your filter at least once a month. According to the Department of Energy, replacing a dirty filter with a clean one can reduce energy consumption by as much as 15 percent!

3. Use your curtains.

Estimated savings: $3-5/month
Heat from the sun is free — so take advantage of it! Open the curtains and let sunlight in during the day, then close them when it gets dark. If you have an energy efficient curtain style, it can even act as a helpful layer of insulation – reducing heat loss in a warm room up to 10 percent (Energy.gov).

4. Reverse your fan blades.

Estimated savings: $5-10/month
Ceiling fans aren't just for the summer. Flipping the little switch on the side of your fan makes the blades rotate in a clockwise direction (as opposed to counter-clockwise in the summer). This produces a gentle updraft, grabbing the warm air pooled in the ceiling and keeping the room at a steadier temperature — which makes you feel warmer, even if the average temperature of your home doesn't change. In fact, the DOE has found that ceiling fans allow people to adjust their thermostat up to 4 degrees without realizing a change in comfort, and a study by the University of Arkansas cites thoroughly mixed air can save 20%-30% on heating costs.

5. Turn down the water heater.

Estimated Savings: $400/year ($33/month)
The Department of Energy recommends keeping your tank-based water heater at 120 degrees Fahrenheit — but did you know most standard water heaters are set at 140? The DOE estimates that turning your water heater down to a more reasonable temperature can save you up to $400 annually on the water you use, plus an extra $36-$61 on the extra water your heater is keeping warm, even when you’re not using it! 

6. Take shorter showers — and avoid baths.

Estimated savings: $5-10/month
An average bath can take anywhere between 35-50 gallons of water, compared to a 10-minute shower that uses between 20-25 gallons (per the EPA). Of course, if you’re throwing more than one child in the tub at once, it might even things out. Calculate accordingly! 

7. DON’T WASH YOUR CLOTHES ON HOT.

Estimated savings: $3-5/month
According to Energy Star, 90 percent of the energy used by your washer is used to heat the water, and just 10 percent is used to run the machine.  Whenever possible, opt for cold or warm water when you throw in the laundry. Most washing machines clean effectively at 86 degrees fahrenheit (the warm setting on your washing machine). 

8. Air-dry your clothes. 

Estimated savings: $3-5/month
Using the math from “Simple Dollar,” the energy cost for drying an average load of clothes ranges from 35 to 50 cents. If you have enough space, add to your energy savings by hanging your laundry to dry in your doorways and on racks. You’ll also save wear and tear on your clothes.

9. Dress your bed accordingly.

Estimated savings: $3-5/month
Using flannel sheets and an extra blanket negates the need to run the heater on full blast, when you aren’t awake to notice it. The National Sleep Foundation recommends a nighttime temp between 60 and 67 degrees, so this is a great opportunity to turn that thermostat down another notch!

10. draft-proof underneath doors & windows.

Estimated savings: $2-3/month
Plugging spots where cold air leaks into your home can make a difference. You have options here: Use your own blankets or towels, buy one of the hundreds of “draft stopper” products out there, or if you’re crafty, you can even make your own version — like this “sausage dog draught excluder.”

 

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NOTE: The estimated savings on this page are based on calculations made by the Department of Energy and other cited sources, but cannot be guaranteed. Many factors might influence actual savings results, including condition of the home, weather, relative air humidity, window installation quality, and several other variables.