8 Ways to Lower Your Heating Costs

Steps you can take to lower your heating costs to offset rising utility bills.

Lower your heating costs with winter energy saving tips
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Struggling to lower your utility bills in the colder months? Every year as the temperatures drop, our thoughts turn to ways to counteract the sting of high heating costs. And it's gotten worse since 2022 as energy costs have soared. No one likes to think of money melting away through that drafty window or poorly insulated attic. 

But, there are some steps you can take before and during the cold months to keep costs under control. Here are eight tips we have for living energy smart.

1. Caulk and weather strip

Keep the warm air in your house and the cold air out by caulking your windows and by adding weather strips to your doors. This is an easy DIY job — a simple and low-cost way to stop drafts and reduce costs. 

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2. Insulate your attic

Obviously you have to have an attic to insulate it... But, if you have one it's a vital step in defense against heat loss. And, although it will cost you upfront it will help you save hundreds of dollars on your heating bill each year. 

Plus, you can claim the Energy Efficient Home Improvement Tax Credit for 30% of the cost of the insulation. This credit also applies to other green home improvements covered under the Inflation Reduction Act.

3. 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. Another simple, yet effective, task.

4. Get your heating system inspected

Booking in a service every year is an important thing for your winter house maintenance checklist. It is another task that has a (relatively small) upfront cost but that has long-term benefits. Getting your heating system inspected ensures it's in good condition for those cold, winter days and also that it's running efficiently — which will save you money in the long run.

5. Install a programmable thermostat

Getting the thermostat setting in your house just right, in the colder months, can cut your bills as well as keep you cozy. You should program the thermostat so the temperature in your home is 10-15% lower than normal while you're at work, asleep, or on vacation.

6. Set your thermostat at 70 degrees or lower.

Your heating costs rise 4-6% for every degree you set your thermostat above 70 in the winter, according to Atmos Energy. So keep your heating as low as possible and stock up instead on a pair of slippers and a thick sweater to keep you warm before boosting the heat.

7. Let the sun heat your house

Make sure you keep curtains, shades and blinds open during the day so the sun can heat your rooms. Every little helps when it comes to lifting the ambient temperature in your house, meaning that when you do turn on the heating it won't take as long to heat up your home.

8. 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.

Cameron Huddleston
Former Online Editor, Kiplinger.com

Award-winning journalist, speaker, family finance expert, and author of Mom and Dad, We Need to Talk.

Cameron Huddleston wrote the daily "Kip Tips" column for Kiplinger.com. She joined Kiplinger in 2001 after graduating from American University with an MA in economic journalism.

With contributions from
  • Audience Engagement Manager, Kiplinger.com