10 Ways to Save Money on Heating

Keep Yourself Warm With These Tips

December 2, 2019
cut-heating-costs-winter

Everyone wants to save on their heating bill, so here are 10 ways to cut heating costs and keep your home warmer in the cold season!

During the chilly months of late fall and winter, no matter what heat source you use—oil, gas, electricity, or wood—you can cut costs by adopting temporary measures to keep the thermostat turned down. Here are some money-saving tips for cutting the cost of cold snaps.

Note: Some of these tips are only appropriate for above-freezing cold snaps and are not advised for subfreezing temperatures.

Keeping Down Heating Costs

  1. Keep doors and vents open in each room to keep air circulating properly, at the correct pressure, in your home. In most cases, when heating your home, it’s best to keep the doors and vents open; closing the vents or doors can actually make your heating system work harder and less efficiently, and may cause leaks in the ductwork or other problems. Move furniture back from the heating vents so that you get all the heat you’re paying for!
  2. Hang blankets over the windows at night. Get insulated curtains in your windows to trap heat. Or, just tape or thumbtack the sides and bottom of blankets to the walls or windowsills to maximize the insulation value. (Press the tacks or tape under the bottom of the sill and over the top of the frame to hide any damage to the finish.) Remove the coverings on the south side of the house during the day to let in the warming sunlight. 
  3. Cover cracks around doors and windowsills with rugs, newspaper, towels, or other insulation. Window-sealing kits can be bought at hardware stores, too.
  4. Use electric space heaters in living or work areas. These are more efficient than the furnace for localized heating, and they will allow you to set the thermostat lower for the whole house. Always be sure to use space heaters in open areas only.
  5. Put on layers. The real trick to staying warm is to dress in layers, so get a few pairs of long underwear and long-sleeve undershirts that you can wear in addition to your regular lounge clothes. Don’t underestimate the heating power of a wool sweater! Don’t forget about slippers! And if you’re really chilly, wear a cap or hat!
  6. Add layers to your furniture. Don’t forget to add warm blankets to your sofa and flannel sheets on your bed and even extra rugs to your floors (especially the bathroom)!
  7. Change your furnace filter. A dirty filter increases your heating bill. It’s worthwhile to change your filter every month if needed! It goes without saying that the annual furnance tune-up is well worth the money saved.
  8. Lower the thermostat. For many heating systems, if you are home during the day, it is best to keep to the lowest comfortable temperature; an often recommended setting is 68°F. When you are asleep or away for several hours, however, it makes sense and cents to lower the thermostat about 8 to 10 degrees. Tip: A programmable thermostat will make the adjustments for you. (Note: If you have a heat pump, a more moderate, constant setting works best; or use a programmable thermostat specifically designed for heat pumps.) During extreme cold snaps, set your thermostat to a reasonable temperature that your furnace can handle (the furnace will work better at lower temperatures), and keep it at that temperature both day and night. (Remember that setting the thermostat higher than your goal won’t make the home heat faster.) If you are planning to be away for a few days, set your thermostat no lower than 55°F, to help prevent water pipes from freezing during cold weather.
  9. Check the damper. Shut the damper when the fireplace is not in use. Check the seals around the damper to make sure that thay are tight.
  10. Drink a warm drink. Though consuming the hot liquid will only warm you marginally, holding a warm mug in your hands can really help!

See some great tips from Almanac readers in the comments below.

Learn More

Get tips on how to keep pipes from freezing in subfreezing temperatures, explore more ideas for staying warm in winter, and catch up on your winter weather terms so you know when storms are coming!

What do you do to save money on heat in your house during the winter? Comment and let us know!

Reader Comments

Leave a Comment

We too used a dryer deverter in our first house

which was a mobile home and never had a problem with dust or lint. The heat was great and the extra moisture made the house very comfortable. Just be sure to change the filter so as to not plug up with lint.

Save Money on Heating

I live in upstate NY. We have below freezing temperatures most of the winter. My house is thoroughly insulated and I have replacement windows. I live in a ranch, so I only heat one floor, but I have a basement and a workroom below. I have turned off the heat ducts in both rooms and I use an electric heater when I am working down there. My heating bills are much lower than those of my neighbors.

Keeping warm at the stove

Living in Oregon, we have an abundance of berries and fruits. Rather than make Jam in the summer and heat the kitchen, I wait until the cold weather is well on and make jam. The heat in the house saves $$ and the delicious scent lasts for a day or more.

Dryer

I have a electric dryer and have it vented to inside and outside of house . Run it in mornings to warm house up. Helps keep the house warm and also from getting to dry

I want this

How did you get this setup? I've heard of it from other people as well, and it would be an amazing use of the heat already produced by the dryer.

dryer diverter

I do this too. I bought a 'diverter' some years ago. It is a small box that inserts between your duct and the outside connection. It has a movable piece so you can change the air from going outside to going inside. Do not use with a gas dryer. I either sent away for it or got it at a home center; sorry can't remember which. Works great.

Dryer insert

Lowes.

Dryer heat

I have been wanting to do this for years as we also have an electric dryer. My husband hesitates because he thinks lint will be blown into the basement where the dryer is. Does a diverter prevent this from happening? Your thoughts please?

windows

I put bubble rap on the windows. just spray a mist on the window and the rap will stay on all winter.

Bubble Wrap

YES!!!!!!!! I've used bubble wrap for 3 years now. Here in the high desert of Arizona, with true autumn, winter, early spring weather colder than most people imagine. With single pane windows that wouldn't make sense in southern California. The bubble wrap is easy and worth it. I just covered 11 windows (maybe 3 hours total time) and a set of sliding glass doors for $9 (roll of bubble wrap on sale at an office supply place).

You can find instructions on youtube.

foam board

I used foam board in the windows. I draped fabric over the front ant the back to look like curtains on the inside and out; worked beautifully

The oven...

Something my mother always did (and I continue to do) on cold days is - when baking/roasting something, leave the oven ajar after it's finished and shut off.

The excess heat seems to come more directly into the kitchen than if you leave it shut when you're done.

Windows

I remove the screens from my windows and wrap plastic sheeting around them and then re-install the screens. This creates a translucent "second window" with an insulating air gap between the glass pane and the screen. It also seals the window better since the plastic around the screen's frame makes it a tight fit and very little air flows around it. I know it is effective because the condensation I used to have on the windows, and resulting mold, has completely ceased to occur. My electric bill went down noticeably. I also installed good quality storm doors on my front and rear entrances.

Warming up on chilly mornings

I love to do my ironing early in the mornings before the house has warmed up. The moist heat from the iron heats the room and warms me as well.

Thanks for the tip.

Thanks for the tip.

Great tip. Thanks.

Great tip. Thanks.

I've tried this insulation

I've tried this insulation method in the past and it does work.

My son lives in Austin, Texas

My son lives in Austin, Texas where they have brutal heat and he did this to a large window that got direct sunlight in the afternoon and it made a tremendos difference in the cooling his house

Home improvement stores carry

Home improvement stores carry foam insulation board. It comes in various thicknesses but the one type has a foil backing already applied. I believe it is about 1/2-inch thick. It comes in 4ft x 8 ft sheets. Cut it to fit snugly in your window with the shiny side facing in to reflect the heat back into the room. Don't press the board directly against the window as the air gap between the board and window helps insulate better. The snug fit will also cut any drafts.

During the day, you can pull the foam board out of the window opening and let the sun in on the southern side. Keep them in for the northern side. Or paint the non-foil side black and leave them in during the day. The black will absorb the sun and heat the air gap between the window and board.

Conversely, in the summer, you can cut your cooling bill by putting the foam board in the window with the foil side out to reflect the hot summer heat.

For less than $7 for a 32 sq. ft. sheet, the insulation can cover several windows and reap a lot of savings. There is no tacking or hanging blankets and they're easier to remove during the day. The insulation value is also better and the foil reflects the radiant heat.

An acquaintance tried this on his home with single pane windows and cut his winter heating bill in about half!

Thank you

I'm in northern Arizona, 4,500 alt. It gets cold enough here. I have a north facing window that is shaded by trees and just up from a creek area, so the room is cool in the hot summer months and COLD in the autumn, winter, early spring months. I use bubble wrap on all windows during the cooler times but have been wondering what else I can do for that one window. I'll head to the hardware store tomorrow.