Ten Tips for Saving Money Heating your Home

These are so simple (and cheap)! It will help save a ton on my gas bill this winter.

Simple things to Winterize your Home

Here in Arizona we do not need to use much heat (these tips almost completely wipe out my heating bill – we average less than $15/month for gas, which is our hot water and heat and our customer charge is $11). We moved here from Kansas City though and I grew up in central Illinois so I am no stranger to harsher winters. It is a good idea to use some of these heating tips so your winter bill doesn't get too high.

No matter where you are at, doing these things will save money on your heating bill. Budgeting is all about putting your money where you want it and I would much rather spend on some fun homesteading needs than required heat for my home. Of course, we need heat, so the key is to use as little as possible. These tips will help keep you warmer and your pocketbook happier.

Frugal Heating Tip #1: Winterize your Windows

If you have older windows then you can look into replacing them, but if you do not have the cash for that right now then there are a few things you can do to make the most out of what you have.

  • Make sure any spaces are patched and caulked. Don't let that cold winter air seep into your house!
  • Apply a plastic film window kit. These kits are great and when applied right (using a hair dryer), you will never know they are there. I used to live in a rental with especially drafty windows and this little kit saved us just under 50% of our heating bill (about $80/month)! You can get the window kit from Amazon here (currently it is $13 for 5 window treatments).
  • You can also use bubble wrap insulation on your windows (this will also help with cooling). Unlike the plastic film window kit, you will be able to tell it is on the window. But, if that doesn't bother you then it can save some money! You need to buy a large roll and cut it to size. Smaller bubbles are better insulators but are harder to see through so you can decide what size works for your family.

Frugal Heating Tip #2: Don't Overuse Kitchen and Bathroom Fans

These fans expel air outside at a fast rate so only use them when necessary!

Frugal Heating Tip #3: Clear the Area Around your Vents

If you have furniture or other items blocking your vents then your system has to work harder and longer to achieve the same heating rate. Make sure that your vents are not blocked.

Frugal Heating Tip #4: Seal the Leaks

If you feel a draft then find out where it is coming from and fix it! Drafts will make your heating system run harder and it will make you feel chilled. Caulk and sweeps are easy to add on doors (or raise the threshold). If that is a little too much work right now then use a draft blocker. You can make them (just sew a tube as long as your door and fill it with something heavy like rice) or you can purchase them. They even have some (like this one) that blocks the draft on both sides.

Frugal Heating Tip #5: Change your Air Filter

A new air filter might cost you $5-$10, but it will save 3-10% off your heating bill. Plus, it has the added bonus of keeping your system running longer.

Frugal Heating Tip #6: Lower your Thermostat

You will save about 3% of your bill for every degree you lower your thermostat. To make this easier see the programmable/learning thermostat tip.

Frugal Heating Tip #7: Use a Programmable Thermostat

Programming your home to be cooler when you are gone and when you are sleeping will save you a lot of money. There is no need to heat a home when you are gone or under the covers. You can program it to warm back up before you get home or wake up so you will never know the difference. Better yet, you can get a learning thermostat. I love our Nest Thermostat and I don't have to do a thing to save money with it. It figures out my schedule and takes care of it for me (along with a lot of other features). The Nest is the primary reason why our heating bill is less than $15/month. The winter before we installed it the heating bill was closer to $40 (and didn't include the water heater). That is in Arizona – think of what it will do for those of you who are in a cold state! You can read my review of the Nest Thermostat here.

Frugal Heating Tip #8: Cover your Water Pipes

Foam pipe covers are sold online, at Home Depot, and Lowe's (and other home improvement stores). They are pre-cut and ready to go. All you have to do is put them around your pipe and your water stays hotter. Do it before the cold season hits. We tried to cover ours right after a cold spell and they had sold out of them everywhere!

Frugal Heating Tip #9: Use Free Solar Energy

Open the shades and drapes of the windows that face the sun and close the ones that do not.

Frugal Heating Tip #10: Lower your Water Heater Setting

Generally you can lower it to 120 degrees without noticing a difference.

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  • Reply Michael October 18, 2014, 12:28 am

    These are the useful tips for saving money on your energy bills. I hope a lot of people read it and follow all the tips. It will be good for their pocket.

  • Reply Bennett Fischer December 22, 2015, 1:25 pm

    With it being Winter right now, I’ve been using my heater a lot more then usual. The problem with that is now my heating bill is a ton more then what it was. I don’t have a ton of money to spend on it every month. That being said, I really appreciate you talking about this and letting me know of some ways I can lower my heating bill by quite a bit. I’ll be sure to follow your insight and see how much I can start saving. Thanks a ton Heidi for your help.

  • Reply Drew January 4, 2016, 11:15 am

    Great advice to winterize your windows. That’s a great start for saving money on your heating bills. Thanks for the advice!

  • Reply Elden Gatley March 10, 2016, 11:10 am

    I agree that you should winterize your windows. I think there are probably ways of doing so just waiting to be discovered. I think it may be worth considering reducing the amount of windows in your home, as well, especially if you’re just used to covering them with blinds anyway.

  • Reply Hazel Owens March 24, 2016, 10:32 am

    I’ve known that lowering your thermostat can save energy, but I hadn’t had a specific number to assign to that fact. Learning that each degree lower you put your heater saves about 3% on your energy bill is pretty neat. Also, you say to lower your water heater setting to 120 degrees; what is it normally at? Thanks.

  • Reply Steve @ heating and cooling services December 12, 2016, 2:11 am

    It’s winter time now and this post as helped me save money. Thanks a lot for sharing !

  • Reply jasonvick May 14, 2017, 1:45 pm

    Awesome post! Definitely some great tips and advice on saving money at home. It’s also great to start a savings money for emergencies or long term goals. thanks foe sharing this helpful article.

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