When Searching the web for ideas on cutting heating costs on a budget you find some interesting ideas, most of them practical, but not very effective. Here are some of our favorites. (sarcasm intended)
Wear more clothes! No kidding. This is one suggestion that appears in more than half of the articles searched for this post. While keeping your thermostat set on a lower temperature setting will indeed cut heating costs, is that what you want? To spend your winter huddled under a blanket tent bundled up like an Eskimo?
Change your heater filter. This one has to be done, and will provide some minimal increase in efficiency. If your filter is exceptionally dirty, it may increase your heater’s efficiency by quite a bit. It is not going to pay for itself, or lower your bills to the point that you actually make money on the investment.
Use your ceiling fans on reverse. This creates an illusion of warmth by drawing the air through space. It can help to even out the temperature in spaces that have drafts, but any savings will mostly be offset by added electricity costs. This one also has to be coupled with lower temp settings to be effective.
Use energy efficient light bulbs to cut your electric bill. This will cut general utility costs, but isn’t really a “heating” issue. In fact, incandescent bulbs produce more heat. This is a good practice for year round, but will be a cold comfort on chilly winter mornings.
Keep shades and blind open. The idea is to allow more light to make the most of the sun’s heat. This one may bite home owners with older windows, since the heat from the sun’s light will probably not make up for the additional heat lost through drafty old windows.
So, what do we recommend?
First, proper insulation and roof ventilation. Replace old doors and windows with energy efficient models. Use a programmed thermostat for more even heating. By implementing these and other measures, many home owners can cut their heating costs by more than half.
A well insulated home with new doors and windows and an energy efficient climate control system gives you the best savings on your heating costs. Many times, these improvements can pay for themselves in less than three years.