A few weekends ago, we finally knocked one project off our list that we’ve been meaning to do: Insulate our windows. For only $10 we bought the “saran wrap” kit and sealed most of our windows. I’ve heard it really helps and with winters here in Chicago, we’re gonna need it. Here’s the rest of my tips on How to Save Money on Your Heating Bills, with thanks to my readers for chiming in!
1) Put in some eco-friendly light bulbs which use 75% less energy than conventional bulbs.
2) Turn the thermostat down when you are not home and at night when you are under blankets. You can also program your thermostat to turn on for around the time you do come home or wake up so that you aren’t freezing. If you lower your thermostat for at least 8 houts a day, you’ll save about 1% for every degree you dial down.
3) Install a wood burning stove insert into your fireplace. If you can find wood for free even better but if you have to pay check out www.craigslist.com. You can also check out Craigslist for a used insert, instead of paying at least $2,000 for a new one!
4) Use space heaters in the bedroom and bathroom. This is what we do with Isaac’s room. We leave the heat on really low at night but make sure he’s warm enough by giving him a heater.
5) If you have pull down attic stairs, make sure you add weatherstripping and extra insulation to the stairs.
6) Make sure your attic is insulated. If you increase attic insulation to around 12 inches the electricity consumption will reduce by 20 percent.
7) Ask for an electric company inspector to come to your home for an energy analysis. This service, which usually is free, will bring someone to your residence who will inspect all your major appliances, including their voltage, location, and frequency of use, before offering ideas for cutting back on the amount of time family members use each appliance.
We had this done last year and the guy told us that the space heater we were using to help us save was really making things worse!
8) Save energy usage. Combine dirty clothes once instead of twice weekly to do fewer but larger loads of laundry. Don’t run the dishwasher until it’s full, or consider washing dishes by hand occasionally. Don’t use too many appliances at the same time. Survey all major electric appliances, and eliminate those you no longer truly need.
9) Be sure to check seals around all of your entry doors and even use draft dodgers. Reducing drafts can cut your heating bill by as much as 30%!!
10) Hang heavier drapes in the winter, even with the plastic up.
11) Use your ceiling fans to blow the warm air down.There’s a switch the you need to change on the base.
12) Unplug all your non-essential appliances when you’re not using them. I’ve recently done this – I only have the fridge, freezer, tv (pain to re-hook!) plugged in.
13) Keep your furnace clean by replacing filters.
14) Always turn off lights when you leave a room. I’m really trying to check myself on this!
15) Close blinds and curtains at night.
These ideas do require a little money and time upfront but will save you so much in the long run that it’s well worth the investment!
According to the Energy Star website you can save $40 a year by turning your thermostat heat down just 2 degrees – Wowsers! Check out more tips at energystar.gov.