Simple Fall Steps to Save on Home Heating Costs

by Jessica Sommerfield · 5 comments

The air is getting crisper every morning, the leaves are starting to change color and drop, and the Pumpkin Spice Lattes (PSLs) are back at Starbucks. It means fall has arrived. I know some people are boycotting anything pumpkin spice related until the official beginning of fall (September 22), but that doesn’t mean you can’t get an early start to slashing the upcoming “w” word’s energy bills. Here are some simple things you can do now that will pay off big-time in the colder days to come (you can even sip your PSL while you read this… I won’t judge!).

Clean, Service or Upgrade Your Heating System

One of the simplest and cheapest things you can do to maximize your furnace’s efficiency is to replace the air filter – now, and then every 30 to 45 days. Make it easy for yourself by setting mobile calendar reminders. If it hasn’t been serviced by a professional in a few years, that’s also a good idea too. Just like other pieces of equipment, heating systems need a ‘tune up’ every now and then. Finally, if you’re due for a new furnace, take advantage of federal tax credits (up to $500) by purchasing one that meets the Department of Energy’s efficiency standards. Upgrade to solar, wind, geothermal or fuel-cell technology, and you’ll be reimbursed 30 percent of the cost, including installation (you’ll need to fill out Form 5695 when the time comes).

Install a Programmable Thermostat (and Lower It)

It makes sense not to waste heat when you don’t need it. Even the cheapest programmable thermostat can save up to $150 a year, so invest the time and money to install one. Lowering the temperature 10 to 15 degrees during the two sets of eight hours you’re at work and sleeping at night could lower your bill as much as 10 percent. Even lowering it one degree during the day correlates to a two percent decrease in heating costs.

Keep the Heat – Curtains, Leaks and Upgrades

Keeping the curtains on south-facing windows open during the day helps heat your home naturally with sunlight, while closing them at night keeps out chilly air. Besides weather-proofing windows like most of us do, look for other places your home is leaking energy: worn weather strips, mail slots, around pipes and wire holes, through unfinished spaces, and in the attic – where the majority of heat rises and then escapes. Caulk, weather strip, and insulate everything you can.

Replacing old insulation, roofing, windows and doors with more energy-efficient counterparts will ultimately save the most, especially since you can recoup the expense by claiming the energy tax credit (10 percent of the cost up to $500, or a specific amount from $50 to $300).

Enjoy the Fireplace

Fall is the perfect time to take advantage of a natural fireplace if you have one, not only for the ambiance but for the energy savings (as long as you remember to close the damper between uses). Lower the thermostat between 50 and 55 degrees and close surrounding doors to keep the area toasty.

Editor’s Note: Do make sure that the fireplace is a traditional log burning one. The one I have at home uses gas, so you aren’t really saving anything by turning that on instead of the heater since both units run on gas.

Increasing your heating efficiency and lowering your energy bill really isn’t that hard, and just think what you could do with that extra wiggle room in your budget: debt repayment, retirement savings, college savings, or just some short-term savings goals (maybe holiday spending).

Take a few steps while it’s (almost) fall, and you’ll be thankful the rest of the “w.”

Editor's Note: Did you know about the service called $5 meal plans? For $5 a month, they send you recipes of delicious, healthy, yet cheap food that costs just $5 a meal.

Several of my friends signed up and they are able to eat at home more because the instructions are easy to follow, making everything convenient. The deal also comes with grocery shopping lists, which saves them so much time. Check it out yourself by clicking here and you too may be able to save more and become healthier at the same time.

Money Saving Tip: An incredibly effective way to save more is to reduce your monthly Internet and TV costs. Click here for the current AT&T DSL and U-VERSE promotion codes and promos and see if you can save more money every month from now on.

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  • Personal Finance says:

    Good thing is we do not need to bother here in India. We can save a lot that way. But there is always an exception. There are some places in India which is cold all throughout the year and where people need to shed some extra bucks to keep things warm.

  • Rajkumar says:

    A very informative post and it really helped me in reducing the cost of heaters which i have been using from past few years. During winter season i used to spend more money on heating system for my home but this post actually saved a few bucks and I’m going to follow the tactics you guys mentioned here and save money. Really great post and I’m looking forward for few more articles like this.

    Have a good day!

  • IFSC says:

    It is generally observed, during wintery days, if we sit inside behind the closed door in seemingly homely comfort , we feel more cold. As we move out side and engage ourselves in some physical activities out side, sense of feeling cold gets lessen. So do not sit inside for long if possible and save your heath and money.

  • Latoya @ Femme Frugality says:

    We actually need a good set of curtains to keep the cold air out in our house. Our windows are on the older side and it always gets really cold around the window areas in the window. I’ll probably pick up a set of those thermal insulating curtains to save on heating costs this year.

    • David @ says:

      Let me know how they work. My house is super cold in the mornings during fall, winter and spring so any tips would be great.

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