How to Save Money on Heating this Winter
This winter season is barely one month old, but we already had 3 snows, including a huge snow store, so far in this southern state of Virginia. It definitely fells colder this year than before when we lived in the northern state of New Jersey. As the weather gets colder, we want to stay warm and save money on heating bill at the same time. This time last year, our furnace in the old house broke down in the middle of the winter and we had to spend nearly $5,000 replace it in a hurry, but enjoyed it for a few months before we moved to VA in the summer. Actually, before that happened, we got suggestions to have a newer model every year when the technician came over for the annual maintenance early in the winter. But we never took the suggestion because the furnace, though old, was still working. Why replace it when it ain’t broken? Now it seemed that it would have been a wise decision had we replaced the furnace when we bought the house in 2004. Not only we could have enjoyed a quieter furnace for several years, but also have saved a lot of money since the newer model is much more energy efficient than the one built some 30 years ago.
Things are a little different this year because we are now living in an apartment, not a house any more. As the space we need to heat gets smaller, so does our heating bill. Nevertheless, we are still trying to keep the cost of staying warm down. If you are also looking ways to reduce heating bill, here are some tips that can help you save money this winter:
- Schedule a maintenance: It’s not too late to have a checkup of your furnace to make sure it’s in good health. You don’t want your furnace to break down at the time when you need it the most.
- Clean your furnace filter: This will make your furnace more efficient as it doesn’t have to push hot air through a clogged filter. Also getting the furnace tuned up at least once a year can further boost efficiency.
- Seal up your home and upgrade your windows: Small air leaks can pad your home-heating bill. Install windows with the government-endorsed Energy Star label, both for efficiency and to take advantage of the tax credit.
- Get a programmable thermostat: Let the thermostat control the temperature for you: reduce the heat when no one is home and turn it up before you get back.
- Shop around for home-heating oil: Search for low-price suppliers in your area, ask for a senior citizen discount or join a fuel cooperative for locked-in, near-wholesale rates.
- Turn down the hot water: Set the water temperature to 120 degrees instead of 140 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s safer and more energy efficient.
- Take advantage of the sun: Open up the curtains on south-facing windows during the day, close all the curtains at night, and let the sun help naturally heat your home.
- Block off unused rooms: The less space you need to heat, the lower your bill.
- Turn on the fan: Use your fan’s reverse mechanism to keep warm air circulating through the room.
Photo credit: phigits
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