In this guide we will look at some tips that should save you money during the heating season and maybe some money on the rest of the season too. The first thing you should do when assessing your Natural Gas or Propane bill is get a history of your account. You want to know not only the amounts that you have been paying but the volume of gas that you have been using because gas prices fluctuate and normally go up but the volume of gas you use from year to year in a given month should be about the same unless you have a abnormally cold or warm winter.
The amount of gas you use for heating should taper off in the spring and come back up in the fall and during off season times you will normally have to pay a connection fee. The cost from our provider for that connection fee has about doubled over the last ten years and they tell us it has to do with them improving the infrastructure and other things but really it shouldn’t go up that much in that short of a time. That is my opinion on those fees but in reality you have no other choice but to pay the connection fee and many months of the year we have a zero use volume but still have to pay $15 or so just to remain customers. Over a year thats $150 or more than our normal gas bill in a winter month. Some people suggest you could turn off your account but they pretty much have that covered and the reconnection fee will end up costing you more than you will save for those late spring to early fall months.
Reducing your Gas use to reduce your Heating Bill
Gas companies will suggest all types of ways for you to reduce your heating costs and possibly that goes against their best interest because selling more product makes them more money but on the other hand if your bills are too high you won’t be able to pay them and you will be complaining to anyone that will listen even your local government and public utilities commissions. This won’t really do you any good and about all you can do is get assistance paying your bill if you fall below an income level. Unfortunately most of us are just above that income level where any assistance can come our way.
With that in mind its best to conserve your use of gas as much as you can. This means you might need to make improvements to your home or change your lifestyle a bit.
Before you make any changes to the way you heat your home you should consult a doctor if you have any health problems and maybe a vet if you have animals. You never want to be so cold that it causes problems for you or your animals.
If you live in an apartment then you will be restricted in some things that you can do but you can still improve your circumstances and both save money and feel better.
Tips for reducing your Home Heating Bill
Ok, so lets get to it what are some tips that you should know to reduce your heating bill.
1) Reduce any drafts in your home by adding weather stripping or caulking around your windows and doors.
2) Caulk the sill plate that attaches to your foundation to reduce infiltration. You can do this inside and outside of your home and outside will also reduce bugs from getting in. Remember to also caulk any pipe or electrical coming through your exterior walls.
3) Add Storm Doors. Doing this will reduce drafts that get by your house doors and it will also give a buffer area of dead air that will act like insulation.
4) Open your blinds every day. Even if it is rainy outside the sun will still provide enough light to bump up the heat in your house and reduce your need for lighting. On sunny days I normally see at least a 10 degree difference in my home from the outside with the blinds and curtains open. At night its just the opposite creating a dead air space around the window with blinds and drapes will reduce heat loss. So, close them at sun down.
5) Improve the insulation in your attic if you can. In very cold states in the USA the attic insulation recommendation begins at an R-60. You may not need 30 inches of insulation to reach an R60 in your home but if you have the ability the more you add the better it will be in both summer and winter. Wall insulation is more difficult to improve however if your home does not have wall insulation it can be blown in with a machine. This normally requires a contractor but you can rent the machines in some areas.
6) Clean your furnace and keep your furnace filters clean. Most people don’t realize that furnace filters only last about a month. They can last longer but a month is about their rated life. Higher quality filters might actually clog quicker and vent filters in your floor registers always go unchecked. By keeping your filters and your furnace clean the flow will be greater and the ability of your heater to raise the temperature in the room will be less of a burden. You will save money on electricity as the heater won’t have to run as long and all it takes is checking your filter about once a month and cleaning those floor register vent filters once a season with soap and water.
7) Make sure your fireplace and other vents are closed. If you have a fireplace that you are not using then make sure the vent is closed. If you have other vents such as a bathroom or kitchen fan then make sure they don’t leak air. Try this on the coldest day of the year open your clothes dryer and I bet it is cold inside from the vent back filling it with cold outside air. If it has flaps over its exit vent make sure they aren’t clogged with lint so they close properly.
8) Reduce the temperature setting on your thermostat to 68F while you are home and lower when you are away. If you are away for more than a few days you can turn it down to 60F with no problems. Timers can really help with this and programmable thermostats can allow you to set a single time range or a 7 day setting if you are normally home on the weekends more. Some thermostats have advanced settings but their cost can range more than your heating bill for a month so making that money back will take a long time.
9) Dress warmer at home. A lot of people like to wear sweaters but what about wearing long johns during the winter. I normally dress pretty warm while sleeping.
10) The final tip is to keep your eyes open for other tips. If heating is a concern for you as it is for most of us then find ways to improve your situation by talking with friends and researching online. If you hear of something easy to try then do it if you don’t have much to lose. I am always learning about different things like Solar Soda Can heaters and door snakes. Look them up if you don’t know what they are and find some other things while you’re at it.
Reducing your use of Gas to heat your home does have an effect on your own bill and the economy. If we all were to put into place a few things in our homes that saved the use of Natural Gas then eventually products will come to market to fill those needs in a better designed way.
I would also suggest that if you have a fireplace or wood burning stove that you don’t use that often that you find ways of obtaining wood on the cheap that is easy to manage. Even if you can drop your bill by 25% over a season by noticing that neighbor that just got a tree cut down and asking for their wood it can be worth it. And you don’t have to deal with huge logs you can collect small branches and build a fire that lasts an hour or two in the evening. Just make sure your system is working well and be careful.