How to Reduce your Heating Bill this Winter

The price of natural gas has risen, and will continue to rise substantially, putting the bite on nearly every household in America. The rising prices are due in part to natural disasters that affected the supply of natural gas, but also due in part to the simple that that natural gas is a non-renewable resource, and it is getting more expensive over time for companies to supply it. You are not helpless against the gas company though, and it is possible to comfortably reduce your consumption–and your monthly bill without freezing.

One of the best ways to cut your bill is to realize that your thermostat doesn’t have to be set at the same temperature all day long. Turning the thermostat down at bedtime and when you are away is always a great way to save money, but it’s not always easy to remember to do this every time. A programmable thermostat may be the best investment you ever make. You can program these handy little devices one time, and it will automatically adjust the thermostat according to the parameters you set. You could, for example, program it to turn itself down to 62 degrees after you’ve already gone to bed and are tucked under your warm blankets, and then turn itself back up shortly before you wake up. Avoid drastic changes in temperature though. Cranking the heat up to 80 degrees when you wake up will overheat the house, and will cause the furnace to run more than it has to.

Weatherizing is also a common tool for cutting the heat bill. Simple things like caulking, weather-stripping and window film can go a long way towards preventing that heat from escaping. Make sure that there are no open cracks around doors or windows. Also check to make sure that there is no heat escaping from around areas such as dryer vents, electrical wall plates or any other utility opening. Switch boxes are a common source of lost heat, but you can easily seal these up with expandable foam.

Go down in the basement and touch the side of your hot water heater. Does it feel warm? Then you can save money by putting an insulating water heater blanket around it. Also, make sure your furnace is clean, your filters are changed regularly, and it is in good running order–a furnace that hasn’t been serviced may be running inefficiently and costing you more in heating bills

Of course, closing off the heat registers in rooms that aren’t being used regularly will save a bundle. Another area you can save money is the basement. Most people place insulation in their attics, but at the same time, forget the basement. Up to 20 percent of your home’s heat can be lost through the basement.

And what about that ceiling fan? It’s not just a summertime convenience. Set it on low speed on reverse. Remember that heat rises, and using reverse will help move the hot air back into the room instead of escaping out of the ceiling.

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