5 Frugal Ways to Lower Your Heating Bills This Winter

As we pass by the first day of fall, it has me thinking of how I am going to keep our house warm and toasty this fall and winter without going broke in the process. Our home has a furnace that is run by propane and it typically costs us close to $400 to fill up our propane tank, so it is nice to only see the propane truck once all winter long! Hope these tips can help you as well.

  1. Burn, Baby, Burn – If your home has a wood burning stove, use it! When our home was being built we upgraded the decorative fireplace into one that actually served a purpose. Also, keep your eye out for good deals on firewood in your local newspaper or at the bulletin board at the grocery store. The best deals are obviously going to be found in summer, but you may still be able to find some good deals as we are only in September. If you have a chain saw you can often find free wood if you are willing to cut and haul it yourself. I do this quite a bit. This will not only lower your heating bill but it is great exercise. I start a fire almost every morning all winter long, then I start it up again in the evenings. By doing this, we typically only have to turn the furnace on during the coldest nights.
  2. Use Our Closest Star – Every morning during the winter, I go around the house and open all the blinds and curtains that get morning sun. It is amazing how much warmer those rooms get than the rest of the house.
  3. Check For Cracks - I was in my home for several months before I noticed that I had big gaps under all my exterior doors that was allowing cold air in all winter long. I bought some inexpensive weather stripping and was able to seal off the leaks. Made a HUGE difference. I no longer felt a cool air draft throughout the home. Also, if you have a fireplace and don’t use it, make sure to keep the damper closed so warm air does not escape through your chimney.
  4. Programmable Thermostat – I have seen this tip on TV commercials recently. By using a programmable thermostat you can set the furnace at a lower temperature during the day while you are at work. You can also set the thermostat lower when you are sleeping. No sense heating the home when you are cozy under your blankets.
  5. Get Tough! - If during the winter and fall months you typically keep your thermostat at 73 during the day and 66 at night, try an experiment and lower it by 1 degree each week for a month. Slowly try changing the temperature you are used too and let your body adjust. Wear a sweatshirt if this is a difficult adjustment. This tip has the potential to save you quite a bit of money this winter.

Please let me know any tips that I missed by leaving a comment!



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By , on Sep 24, 2008
Kyle James Kyle James owns and operate a website called Rather-Be-Shopping.com which specializes in coupon codes for over 750 stores, organized in 25 shopping categories. He also has a blog, where he writes about frugal living and personal finance tips as well as other musings about the adventures and mis-adventures of raising 3 active kids.

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{12 Comments}

  1. Dan:

    I keep my heat set at 60 degrees all winter. I find if I turn down the heat and turn up the heat I use more. At 62 degrees the furnace comes on more often so at 60 it comes on about every hour when it is really cold out. I also open all my south facing cutains and the heat will not come on for most of the day when it is sunny(about 9 hours).I wear a sweater and slippers all winter inside. When it gets too cold for me I put on a hat and another shirt. My bedrooms are not heated and on the second floor, One has a floor vent, One does not. I sleep in the smaller one(easier to warm up) with a few comforters and flannel sheets(the best!) The bedrooms stay around 45 degrees when it is below zero. I also use cfl’s and plan to install a new chimney and wood funace this coming summer. As it is now I use 275 gallons of oil per year in a 1500sqft house. That is in upstate NY. I find if I am cold inside the house I go for a walk and when I get back the house feels much warmer! I also have a dog that supplies me with 110 degrees of heat!

  2. Jess:

    Thank you for the Great coupons. I’m always ok with saving a little bit. I just need to learn when not to spend on a sale! :)

  3. Denise E.:

    Cuddle with those you love and wear long underwear while eating chili.

  4. We live in a small apartment that has electric heating units on the baseboards. During the day, we only heat the living room (very low…just to keep a chill out of the air), bathroom and kitchen (both also very low just to ensure the pipes do not freeze). We do not heat the bedroom until 2 hours before getting bed, at which point we turn it back down to just keep the chill out of the air. During the night the living room heat goes OFF and we keep just keep the kitchen heat on, very low.

  5. Jane Smith:

    One more…

    I have electric heat so for me this works well…

    Close off/turn off the heat to any rooms not being used during the day. The heat in my bedroom is never on, my boys’ rooms have a low level heat continuously, but the doors are closed during the day to allow the heat to accumulate during the day.

    We have vents from the downstairs to the upstairs, so the heat from the family room drifts up to warm my upstairs. My daughter lives in the family room, and she keeps it WARM.

  6. I have always heard that turning your heat (pr air) off and on uses more energy not less?

  7. Jane Smith:

    Plastic on the windows…. if you have windows you don’t open at all during the winter, you can put a heavier grade plastic on the outside.

    Electrical outlet insulation. You can buy them at any hardware store, just take of the plug cover on all outside walls, and pop in the insulation to add that extra protection.

    If you’re not using your fireplace, not only keeping the damper shut but also plastic over the front of it, or stuff it with extra paper to buffer any wind coming down the chimney (worked well for my basement fireplace)

    And… strategically placed space heaters. I have a hall that doesn’t have any heat going to it, a space heater in that area keeps the warm air circulating.

  8. Marci:

    Remember to close the ventilation vents under the house also if you live in a house without a basement and have ventilation vents.

    And if you’ve opened up the attic window in summer to let the heat out, remember to close the window in winter.

    Attic stairwell… I have a small attic with permanent (if small) open steps going up to it. I hang plastic up along the stairwell in winter to keep the heat from rushing up the stairs.

  9. Michelle H.:

    We hope to buy a wood burning stove in the next year or two. What would be your recommendation?
    Thanks for any help.
    Michelle

  10. Bellen:

    We found that using heavy drapes on north facing windows made a big difference in the winter, and conversely in the summer heavy drapes on the south & west facing windows. We also use closed topped cornices (basically a 3 sided box) on the windows with heavy curtains which keeps the cold or hot air contained to the window area, not coming into the room.

  11. Michelle, we have a Fireplace Xtrordinair wood burning insert w/ the Catalytic Combustor which cleans the smoke before emitting it. It is great! Our house is 2600 sq ft and I can get heat all the way down the hall to the kids’ bedrooms. It has a fan on it that really does a great job blowing the heat throughout our home.

  12. Julia:

    Plastic Window covering. 3-M makes some that you then shrink up so you can barely see it. It makes a Huge difference in our old house.

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