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Monday, December 9, 2013

ideas for keeping heating costs down


It is that time of year again...we are trying to keep our heating costs down.  Honestly, every time I go to put oil in our tank, it hurts.  I wish we were one of the lucky ones that had a wood stove installed in our home, alas that is not the case!

The first way that we keep our heating costs down is turning down the thermostat.  

Several years ago I joined a challenge called the "freeze your buns challenge."  It was mainly to reduce the temperature in your house as much as possible to also reduce our dependence on heating oil, or gas.  Today we are so used to having perfect climate control.  When we get in our cars we can boost the a/c or heat as much as we want, when we go shopping the stores are heated and cooled nicely.  Schools, where we work (for the most part), are all a nice temperature.  Our bodies are not used to acclimating to cold weather (or hot weather) anymore.  I'm not saying we should all turn our thermostats off, but the body is able to deal with a lot more than we think.

We tend to keep our heat low.  Now, that may sound cold, but we have learned to bundle.  OK, I have learned to bundle (my kids tend to run around our house a lot more, therefore seem to require a lot less in the clothing department).  Living in a very old house while I was growing up, drafts were inevitable, so wearing a scarf inside was not a big deal.  Actually, I prefer to be bundled in the winter, and when our house is warm, (which it is on occasion) I am not comfortable.  Crazy, I know!

Another way we keep heating costs down is by blocking off rooms in our home.  

Now, not everyone has a home that this can work in, and others may prefer not to have blankets hanging up in doorways.  For us, it works quite well.  We have a lot of rooms in our home, and a lot of doorways.  Last year was the first year we really blocked off all of our downstairs.  I have to say that it was a genius idea.  Our heat was rarely on, and our house was quite cozy.  We mainly live in the downstairs during the winter anyways.  At night, we all prefer to sleep in colder air rather than warmer air, so the upstairs isn't as big of an issue.

We do have an electric heater - and this works surprisingly well for keeping our heating costs down.  We obviously spend more on electricity, but it isn't nearly as much as we would spend to keep the house warm with oil.  

My final keep heating costs down strategy is to bake...a lot.

Baking is probably one of the easier ways to keep the house warm.  Not only does baking help to keep the heating costs down, but you can also reduce your grocery bill.  Baking your own bread, muffins, granola; roasting squash for soups, it all helps to reduce the amount of processed food you are buying and is cheaper overall.  Plus it tastes better!

If heating oil were less expensive would I keep my house a bit warmer?  Probably.  But I also know that we have ways to keep ourselves warm, and we are lucky that we can heat our house at all, or that we even have a home we can heat!

Do you try to turn the heat down this time of year?  Or if you are in a warmer climate, do you turn the a/c down during the hottest parts of the year?

Linking up at the Homestead Barn Hop and Clever Chicks

5 comments:

  1. Doing housework is a great way of keeping warm in a colder house. I grew up in a house with no central hating. If we were cold, my mother would say, put a jumper on and do some work!

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  2. Love this post! Working out helps keep me toasty and COFFEE! Speaking of which....

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  3. Yep, we keep that thermostat low! I read that for every degree you lower your thermostat, you save 1-3% on your energy bill. Also turn your hot water heater to 120 degrees will save as much as 10%!! We definitely need to do what we can to reduce :) Thanks for the tips- this is definitely an easy time of year to bake a lot ;)- double the reward too!

    Visiting from the Homestead Barn Hop!

    Erin
    http://yellowbirchhobbyfarm.blogspot.com

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  4. Great tips! I think running a humidifier helps. Moist air just feels warmer than dry air.

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  5. Great ideas that most people can put into practice. I have a drafty door that isn't used in the winter. I seal all around it with packing tape, including the bottom of the door. What a difference that makes. I'm going to do the same at the bottom of all of our windows since that is where I feel the air coming in.

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