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12 ways to lower heating bills

By Paula Pant ·
Monday, October 21, 2013
Posted: 12 pm ET

The weather is turning colder in most parts of the U.S., which means many Americans are firing up their heaters for the first time.

Home heating can be expensive. Here are some tips that can help you save money.

  1. Caulk and weatherstrip around your windows and doors. This prevents cold air from seeping into your home. A tube of caulk and a roll of weatherstripping cost less than $5 each at big-box hardware stores.
  2. Clean your warm-air registers and baseboard heaters. This allows heat to more effectively pass through.
  3. Move your furniture away from exterior walls and windows. These are the coldest areas of the house. You'll feel warmer when you sit toward the middle of the home.
  4. Insulate your attic, crawl space and walls. Insulation can be expensive, but the cost savings over time generally will make it a worthwhile investment.
  5. Clean your furnace filter monthly. This allows hot air to more effectively pass through.
  6. Open the curtains on the south-facing side of your home during the daytime. This lets natural sunlight warm your home. Close these curtains at night to keep the cold out.
  7. Cover your water heater with an insulated "jacket." That way, it won't need to work as hard. This costs about $20 from a major hardware store.
  8. Turn your thermostat down a few degrees. Tap your frugal instincts and adjust to living in a colder home. Wear a wool hat indoors, which will help you retain body heat.
  9. Wrap a heating pad or heating blanket around yourself if you're alone. This is more cost-effective than heating the entire house for the sake of warming one person.
  10. Use a thick comforter at night. That way, you won't have to heat the house as much while you sleep.
  11. Turn your water heater down to 120 degrees, and install low-flow aerators on your faucets. This will lower both your water-heating costs and your overall water bill.
  12. Close your fireplace damper when the fireplace isn't in use. This prevents cold air from seeping into your home.

Paula Pant blogs at about building wealth and living life on your own terms. She's traveled to 30 countries, owns six rental units that produce thousands in passive income, and runs an online marketing and freelance writing company. Follow Paula on Twitter: @AffordAnything.

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January 17, 2014 at 12:57 pm

I find it hard to believe that a lower thermostat will help lower your heating costs; your furnace will run just as much with a lower setting as it does with a warmer setting...

January 17, 2014 at 11:46 am

burn wood!!!

January 17, 2014 at 10:48 am

construct the keystone pipe line so we can lower the price of energy so we don't have to sit around with electric blankets around us to save energy!!!

December 12, 2013 at 7:45 pm

Have quality window tint applied to the windows in your house.

November 25, 2013 at 5:14 pm

Closing the fireplace damper doesn't prevent cold water from coming down the chimney. It prevents hot air from escaping up through the chimney. Heat rises

November 16, 2013 at 8:43 am

Sell the house in the north and move to Florida.

November 02, 2013 at 5:04 pm

Be sure to turn off any lights your not using.

Using insulated drapes (or blackout curtains) will keep out the cold in winter and heat in the summer.

Use lower wattage light bulbs.

November 02, 2013 at 1:17 pm

Open blinds or curtains to let in natural sunlight. You won't need to turn your heat on as high.

November 02, 2013 at 10:30 am

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November 02, 2013 at 10:29 am

Use an automatic setback thermostat from or a limiting thermostat. keeps the temp down