How to Save Money on Heating and Cooling Bills
Tips for Cutting Electricity and Gas Costs for Heating and Cooling
Paying for the heating and cooling of a home, particularly a larger one, can really cut into the budget. Practicing many different techniques, investing in your home, and making sacrifices can save you hundreds of dollars per year on your heating and cooling bills.
Many people may take for granted that they are going to have to pay so much for this bill or that bill. Yet there are many ways to cut back in many areas of your life. The electric or gas bill that's necessary to heat your home is no exception. There are definitely ways to save.
Tips for Cold Weather Savings
Use Your Fireplace
Have a fireplace? If you do, make the most of it, whether gas or wood. Many people don’t take advantage of the wood fireplaces in their homes. Too much trouble? Not if you really want to save money. Pick up the sticks and limbs you trim in your own yard or offer to cut and haul off what your friends have in their yards. Sometimes Craigslist or the local newspaper can be a source of free wood if you’ll just haul it off.
If you have a gas insert in a room that you use often, consider shutting off the rest of the rooms and turning down the thermostat. I keep the doors to my extra bedrooms closed when not in use—with vents closed in the case of rooms I rarely use.
Add weather stripping to windows and doors where cool air may be coming in. Put rolled up towels or those fancy door blockers (some shaped like animals!) at the bottom of closed bedroom doors to keep cool air from seeping out into warm areas.
Use a Space Heater
A space heater in the area you use most (i.e. in front of the television or near the computer) can be a great help in keeping you warm and enabling you to turn down that thermostat. At night, I turn the heat down to about 60 degrees and pile on the quilts; I get quite toasty!
I also have installed heaters in my bathrooms (space heaters would work, also) to turn on when I get up in the morning to keep from cranking the central heating for the entire house.
Tips for Warm Weather Savings
Circulate Air With Fans
In the summer, try setting your thermostat on about 78 degrees, or higher if you’re comfortable with it. Turn on a few fans to get the air flowing. I’ve found that setting a fan in front of a floor vent really helps to cool a room. Again, shut off the rooms and vents you rarely use.
Install an Attic Fan
If you can afford around 300 bucks, consider installing an attic fan in your home. Without one, it can be hard to get the cool air from the outside into the house, unless you have lots of window fans. Using an attic fan, I have found my electric bills to be lower than they were at a previous house less than half the size. Ceiling fans are also an option and aren’t terribly expensive.
Tips for All Seasons
Adjust Fans and Insulation
Remember to change the setting on your ceiling fans in the winter in order to blow heat down, and switch them the other direction in the summertime. Extra insulation in the attic helps keep the coolness or warmth from seeping out of the house. Consider, too, installing storm doors.
Some of these improvements to your home may be tax-deductible. Check with your accountant—or income tax software, whatever the case may be.
What About Equalized Billing?
Should you sign up for equalized billing? I wouldn’t advise doing so. I bet you’ll end up paying more. If you’re considering it, look at what your monthly bills usually are during the extremely hot or cold months. Then, you can average what you should be paying if you opt for equalized billing.
As for me, I know that the monthly electric and gas bills will fluctuate greatly at times, but I like anxiously waiting to see the next month’s bill to see if I trimmed them down from the previous month. For me, equalizing the bills would give me a false sense of security, as I would most likely use more energy since I would know that I wouldn’t have to pay over a certain amount. If you do decide to equalize your bills, know what the average should be each month, and do what you can to trim your energy usage.
Wearing layers or jackets with hoods can do wonders in cooler weather to save money on your heating bills. Make yourself a little uncomfortable! I do it all the time. I’ll put on layers, wear warm socks, and even wear a knit cap. Hats hold in so much heat and really make a person feel warmer. The same thing applies in the hot weather. Strip down to your boxers and tank tops.
I’m amazed when I go to people’s homes in the winter, and I have to dash out into 30-degree weather to cool off. Conversely, I don’t like shivering and feeling that I need a jacket inside during hot weather.
Saving money sometimes hurts, but the rewards, at least to me, are well worth the sacrifice.