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When winter comes around, temperatures drop, and the heating bill rises. If you’re not prepared, heating expenses can eat up a large portion of your budget. But there are ways to save money on your heating bill and heat your home more affordably.
If you’re in the northern half of the United States or in areas of the south where it gets cold in the wintertime, you’ll want to do your best to save money on heating, as heating expenses can raise your living expenses by several hundred dollars per month.
In this article, we’ll talk about the ten cheapest ways to heat your home as well as how to lower your heating bills overall.
Let’s jump right in.
1. Use an Energy-Efficient Space Heater
Energy-efficient space heaters are an excellent solution to heating parts of the house that you use the most. For example, if you’re in a home office during work hours, then lower the heat in other parts of the house and use an energy-efficient space heater in your home office while you work.
An energy-efficient space heater should have things such as a built-in thermostat and a timer as leaving on a space heater all day can use up a lot of power, which likely won’t save you money at all.
Space heaters shouldn’t be left unattended and always plug one in directly to the wall. Plugging in a space heater to a power strip or to an extension cord can cause fires, so avoid doing this.
2. Try One or More Smart Thermostats
Smart thermostats can be programmed to heat different sections of your house to different temperatures at different times of the day. That means you can use less heat when you’re either out of the house or when you’re sleeping comfortably under warm blankets.
By automating your heating system, you can save quite a bit of money each winter month. It’s entirely possible to save a few hundred dollars per year with a smart thermostat system.
There are different options on the market, such as Nest. Nest can typically be integrated with most heating systems and adjust temperatures based on your preferences.
3. Use a Budget Plan
Many utility companies offer budget billing, and while this may not save you money, it will make your heating bill predictable as you’ll pay the same amount each month instead of having spikes in the coldest of months.
The way a budget plan works is that your utility company takes the average of your bills from the previous year and figures out an idea of how much you’ll use in the coming year. You’ll then be billed the same amount of money each month, totaling the assumed amount that you’ll spend all year.
If you end up using more energy than the utility company determined, you’ll have to pay extra at the end of the year. Likewise, if you use less energy than the utility company determined, you’ll receive a credit for next year or a refund.
Typically, budget plans are adjusted annually, so the amount you pay per month may change once per year.
4. Turn Down the Temperature
One of the most straightforward ways to lower your heating bill is to turn down the heat by a few degrees. To stay warm, wear warm clothing such as sweaters, thermal undershirts and pants, slippers, and keep a blanket on you when you’re sitting at the computer or in front of the TV.
Turning the heat down even 3-4 degrees can save you mounds of money without sacrificing personal comfort, as you can use other means to warm yourself up.
5. Turn Down the Heat In Areas of Your Home You're Not Using
Heating an entire house can be expensive so if possible, provide the most heat to areas of the home that you’re using. For example, if you’re where your living and dining areas are after work, turn the heat down in other sections of your home. If you want to be cozy at bedtime, turn up the heat in the bedroom at night and turn down the heat elsewhere.
Using a smart thermostat makes this much easier, and you can save a few hundred dollars per year simply by setting the temperature lower in parts of your house that you’re not actively using.
6. Insulate Your House
More insulation means more heat retained which leads to lower heating costs. Depending on the age of your home, your walls may not be insulated as well as they could be. You may also have an attic that isn’t well-insulated.
If either of these situations applies to you, then it may be a good idea to invest in better insulating your home. The upfront cost of doing so can save you money over the years, eventually leading it to paying for itself if you stay in the same house for some time.
7. Use a Fireplace or Pellet Stove
If you have a fireplace or the option to install a pellet stove, you can save on energy bills with these alternate heating options. A wood fireplace is a cheap way to keep your home warm.
8. Install a Heat Pump
Heat pumps are similar to air conditioners, except they take heat from the outside and create warm air for the inside of your house. While heat pumps can be a very affordable way to heat your home, they can be pricy to install and may struggle to keep your house warm in the coldest of winter days.
Using a backup heating system can work on days where the heat pump struggles. A propane furnace is one example of a backup system.
Getting a heat pump system for your house can serve a dual purpose as you can use them as air conditioners in the summertime, and they are more energy-efficient than typical window units.
9. Open Your Oven After Using It
After you cook a meal, you can use the oven to provide some heat to your home, even if just for a short while. Once your oven is done cooking, open it up and let the heat spread to nearby areas in your house. Doing so provides an easy way to save a little money on heating expenses, especially if you use your oven frequently.
10. Check Doors and Windows for Drafts
Heat can escape from cracks in your exterior doors and windows. A small crack can cause bitter cold air to enter your home, making the heating system work harder.
Each winter, check for drafts in your exterior doors and windows, and if possible, fix the cracks or cover them with plastic film. Plastic film is an ideal option for large windows or sliding glass doors that you aren’t using in the wintertime.
If you have older windows, consider replacing them with well-insulated ones when it’s within your budget.
11. Consider Investing in Solar Panels
While solar panels are a significant investment, they can save you money over the long term if you plan on living in your home for some time. Solar panels will allow you to use electric heat much more cost effectively as solar panels generate free electricity.
12. Use a Cash Back Credit Card to Pay Your Utility Bills
One hack to save money on heating is to use your cash back credit card to pay your heating bill. Ensure that your energy company doesn’t charge a fee to use a credit card for payment before using this method.
You won’t save a ton of money using this method, but this is one way to get some extra cash or points, depending on what type of cash back or rewards credit card you have.
Wrapping It Up
In the cold winter months, it makes sense to keep your heating costs as low as possible. With the options discussed in this article, you’ll be able to make smart choices to keep your home warm while keeping more money in your wallet.