- By ezHomeHeating.com
- In Blog
- Posted July 15, 2013
Home heating costs have continuously risen over years and the trend seems to
be continuing. We had illustrated this in a previous blog, where we posted
interactive charts for heating oil
prices & propane prices based on historical data maintained by US EIA.
For the average homeowner, this can be a significant expense because heating costs
now account for more than 2/3rds of the annual home energy costs.
However there are plenty of things that the homeowner can do to cut down on these costs. In this article, we'll provide you with 10 useful tips to save energy and money on your home heating bills.
1) Watch that thermostat
This one seems obvious but what's largely misunderstood is the amount of
impact it can have on your heating bills. Generally speaking, you can save
anywhere from 2-5% off your heating bill for every degree that you lower on your thermostat. At home you can wear an extra layer (did someone say "Snuggie"? -
well maybe a sweater instead) and similarly while leaving for work you could
lower the thermostat down 10-15 degrees. Likewise at bed time lower the
thermostat by 10 degrees and your wallet will thank you for it!
In fact, you can automate this by installing a programmable digital thermostat
which are available at most home improvement stores for $25-$75. Once installed,
simply program your settings once and then forget about them. The small upfront
cost can be recouped very quickly and your can reap the savings year over year!
2) Is your furnace tuned?
Oil-fired boilers should be tuned annually and gas furnaces every couple of years.
Your local HVAC company will typically offer annual clean ups on the cheap
during the off-season. Watch out for these coupons/offers and use them. A clean
and well tuned heat-exchanger can save you anywhere from 5-10% during the heating season.
3) Shop for low Heating fuel prices
Price comparison sites such as
ezHomeHeating.com offer a quick and easy platform where heating oil
& propane dealers advertise their daily lowest prices. Do some comparison
shopping and save money each time you buy heating fuel.
4) Check your water heater setting
You can typically get 5-10% savings if the water heater thermostat
is lowered to 115-125 degrees. And often times this can be done without a
noticeable impact to end users. However you may have to curb simultaneous
usage of hot water such as running the washer while taking a shower etc.
Tankless water heaters (which don't store hot water and rather heat it on
demand) are also something to consider but can often be expensive.
You can also save energy by wrapping exposed hot water pipes with an
insulation sleeve or similar products, especially when they run through
5) Check your insulation
Your insulation may be old or inefficient, especially if you live in an older
home. Newer more energy efficient insulation such as cellulose are environmentally
green products which can prevent leaks thru your attic. Often times, you may
have to add just a few inches of insulation (instead of replacing everything) and
it can be blown in within a few hours.
Moreover cost incurred with insulation may also qualify for energy-improvement tax credit!
6) Watch out for leaks
If your spouse complains of a draft, don't ignore it! Chances are there is a
leak around your windows or doors or around the fireplace. For your windows
you can install shrink wrap; for doors you can use door sweeps; for fireplace
and other openings you can buy spray foam which can be easily sprayed into the
openings. There are plenty of websites and blogs which go into details and discuss
choices and installation tips for each of these options. Plugging these leaks can
often result in a substantial 5-10% savings.
7) Replace your air filter
This is one of the easiest things that a homeowner can do (and often the most
overlooked) to keep their furnace and blower in shape. These are available at
all home improvement stores for $5-$10 and can significantly reduce the load
on your blower and improve home air quality.
8) Is your fireplace damper open?
A fireplace damper is a important source from which hot air can leak out and
cold air can come inside. Its easy to forget about an open damper, since they
are typically not visible and continually waste heat in the process!
9) Use curtains and blinds more effectively
Curtains and blinds, if left open during the day can warm up a room via solar
radiation. However don't forget to close them at night and they will prevent
the heat from radiating out.
10) Get a Home Energy Audit
Some states have started offering these at no cost to the homeowner. E.g. the
Commonwealth of Massachusetts has a program called
which they offer a Free Energy Audit. Check out if your state offers something similar.
These audits cover most of the suggestions that were mentioned in this article
and a few more. Often times they also offer the homeowner good discounts to
perform suggested home energy improvements.