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Tips: How to Cut Your Heating Bill

In order to save a buck, we're constantly looking to cut corners in any which way we can. Coupons, deals, and other bargains are one way. Doing without the latest gadget or gizmo and making do with what you have is another. But there's one thing we can get around, and that's the temperature.  When winter sets in, it's near impossible to cut corners. Unfortunately the utility company doesn't offer coupons on heating and going without heat isn't an option.

There are only so many layers of sweaters you can pile on before you're completely miserable or unable to move. When it comes to cost cutting, there's one luxury we can't negotiate with - and that's the temperature. It's such a small fickle detail but impossible to overlook when the weather hits extremes during winter seasons. 

But what you can do is figure out how to be smart about heating. How to heat your home efficiently and effectively. First, start with a space heater. Space heaters are portable, energy-efficient, cost-effective and safe to use. With a space heater, you can cut your heating bill since you'll only be heating the space you're occupying.

"Why pay to heat the whole house when you're only using one room?"

This is the thinking of smart penny-wise users who have invested in electric space heaters.  There are a couple of options with space heaters. Families will either set their central heater at a lower temperature and offset the chill with a space heater, or some will forego central heating entirely and stick with just a couple of electric heaters for the areas they use most - such as the family room, bedroom and kitchen. 

Yet, aside from investing in a portable space heater, you can also employ a few other tricks to keep your energy bill to a minimum:

Talk to your utility company -Talk to your gas, oil or electric company to see if you can be put on a level billing contract. This doesn't really save money, but does help you to budget for the heating season and makes heating bills more affordable. You can also ask them for any suggestions for saving money on your heating bills. Some companies will be happy to send someone to you house for a home energy audit and offer suggestion that can translate into major savings.

Keep it clean -Inspect your furnace during the cold months. Keep parts clean and replace air filters when necessary. Doing what you can to keep filters clean can save up to $60 a year on heating costs.

Efficiency ratings - Check efficiency ratings before buying new appliances. Many newer appliances will have the Energy Star rating, making it a much more sound investment.

Teach your kids -Good habits last a lifetime. Try to teach children to keep doors closed and discuss other ways of conserving heat and saving energy.

Get informed - Check to see if you qualify for any government assistance with your heating bills; you're likely to qualify if you have low income or are a senior citizen on a fixed income.

Check for cracks - Even though a crack is a tiny sliver in most cases, you'd be surprised how much how air escapes or how much cold air can still get in through those. Go around you home and check the caulking on your windows to ensure there are no costly cracks. You may be able to cut heat loss in half by weather-stripping doors and windows. Don't forget the weather-stripping on your attic and basement doors to prevent heat from escaping.

Rethink your furniture -In colder areas it makes sense to move furniture away from any exterior walls. Putting some space between you and the cold walls makes the house seem warmer and leaving room for the air to move around actually makes it warmer.

Insulation -Insulate floors over unheated spaces such as your basement, any crawl spaces and your garage. You actually lose more heat through poorly insulated floor spaces and basements in the average house than through drafty doors and windows.

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