Heating Your Home Without Breaking the Bank

August 14, 2008 · Posted in Money 


With fuel costs across the country skyrocketing, many of us are feeling the heat, as it were, when looking ahead to the coming winter. Natural gas prices have gone up steadily over the past few years, and in many areas, the jump this year has been even more drastic. This leaves the majority of us wondering how we will be able to keep our families comfortable when the cold weather hits and still manage to pay those high heating bills on time. Don’t panic, though. With a little preparation, you can head off some of those heating costs so this winter doesn’t wreak havoc on your personal finances.

There are the obvious steps to take, such as turning the thermostat down a few degrees. A few degrees lower won’t cause much noticeable difference in the comfort of the room, but it will show on your monthly heating bill – some estimates put it at a 2 to 3 percent savings per degree you lower it, which isn’t too shabby. Lowering the heat even more while you sleep – since you can pile on the blankets to keep warm – or while you are not in the house will also help. Just remember – never turn the heat off the whole way. Letting your house get cold will then make it take more energy to warm back up when you do come home or wake up in the morning.

Another step to take is to make sure your home is properly insulated. Having doors and windows that aren’t properly sealed and insulated is nearly as bad as leaving that door or window wide open in the middle of January. Weather stripping materials and caulk are inexpensive and easy to implement. Line drafty doors and windows with it, and you’ll go far towards reducing the amount of heat you lose and the amount of cold you let in. Make sure that your electrical outlets and light switches are also well-insulated. You can purchase foam gaskets that can block any cold air coming from exterior walls of your home through any such outlets.

These are just some of the small, easy steps you can take to improve how efficiently you can heat your home. Larger-scale projects, like installing all new windows, and having foam insulation blown into your walls by a contractor, are also obviously good ideas, if you can manage them, but every little bit helps you cut down on your heating costs, and any improvements you make now will still serve you well when fuel costs go back down.

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