8 Ways to Lower Your Heating Costs
In some parts of the country there's a nip in the air that makes it actually feel like fall is here. It won't be long before temperatures dip even further -- and you're hit with high heating bills. However, there are steps you can take now and throughout the cold months to keep costs under control.
Caulk and weather strip. Keep the warm air in your house and cold air out by caulking your windows and weather stripping your doors.
Insulate your attic. Yes, this will cost you now but it will help you save hundreds of dollars on your heating bill EACH YEAR. Plus, you can claim a tax credit for 30% of the cost of the insulation, up to $1,500 through December 31, 2010 (see Tax Credits for Going Green).
Change your air filter. A dirty filter makes your heating and cooling system work harder. By keeping it clean, you can lower your energy bills by 5% or more, according to Atmos Energy.
Have your heating system inspected to make sure it's in good condition and running efficiently.
Install a programmable thermostat. Then in the cold months program it so the temperature in your home will be 10% to 15% lower while you're at work, asleep or on vacation.
Set your thermostat at 70 degrees or lower. Your heating costs will rise 4% to 6% for every degree you set your thermostat above 70 in the winter, according to Atmos Energy. Rely on a pair of slippers and a sweater to keep you warm.
Let the sun heat your house. Keep curtains, shades and blinds open during the day so the sun can heat your rooms.
Sign up for budget billing. Some gas companies let you spread out your payments more evenly over the year. You'll pay more in the warmer months but you won't be hit with bills that bust your budget in the cold months.