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6 Ways to Reduce your Heating Costs this Winter

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Have you turned your heat on yet?  We live in Maine, and while in years past we
would wait until November 1st to turn on the heat, this year the
heat came on in early October.  We have
had a wonderfully warm November, so you may not be thinking about heating your
home yet, but it is something I am constantly thinking about – especially how
to save money on heating my home.

Several years back, when oil was over $4/gallon, I knew that
we needed to make some changes in order to reduce how much we were spending on
oil.  Now that oil is less than half
that, I am feeling a little more comfortable about relaxing on keeping the
thermostat incredibly low, but I still want to be able to save as much money as
I can during the *very* long heating season.
Here are my Top 6 Tips for Reducing your Heating Costs.
Keep your thermostat
lower.
It seems like a no-brainer, if you turn your thermostat
lower, you will pay less to heat your home. 
However, I think that most people forget about this step. 
If you are out of the house all day, do you need to keep
your heat on 70?  Absolutely not.  You can turn it down, and save some
money.  One thing that has helped us is
to get a programmable thermostat.  We
have this one and it has served us really well. 
Not having to remember to turn the thermostat down when we know we are
going to be out of the house is so helpful. 
Turning the thermostat down isn’t just for when you are out
of the house.  If you turn your
thermostat down a couple of degrees, and put on a sweater, you are going to
save money.
The next tip is to use
good curtains.
You can buy thermal lined curtains like these ones that are inexpensive, but give you a good amount of cold blocking
power.  I know that a lot of houses in
New England are old, and that means that windows are sometimes old.  Even if the windows are not old, like in my
old house, there still seems to be cold air coming in.  If you are able to shut the curtains, it will
help keep some of the heat in your rooms better.  If you have sun streaming through your
windows during the day, keep those shades open in the winter and closed in the
summer.  Then close the shades when the
sun passes over your house in the winter, or vice versa in the summer.
My next tip is to block
off your rooms with doors or curtains.
This is something that we have been doing every year for a
long time.  It may sound strange to hang
blankets to close off rooms in the winter, and it does look a little funny, but
it definitely helps us keep our heating costs lower, and the rooms that we are
in stay much warmer.
We live in an old New Englander home, and that means there
are lots of rooms, and lots of doorways. 
By hanging some blankets or curtains up between some of the rooms, our
downstairs stays warmer, and since that is where we are most of the time, that
makes sense for us.  Of course, it won’t
work in every home.  And obviously it
changes the esthetic of the home to have blankets hanging in your doorways, but
I’m not as concerned about that.
Use a space heater.
Space heaters have come a long way; they aren’t nearly as
dangerous as they used to be.  We have one
similar to this one
which we purchased several years ago, and it works really well.  It isn’t like a typical space heater, but
when the room itself is warm, it helps to keep the room warm.  It doesn’t work as well if you start it in a
cold room, it still works, but it doesn’t circulate the warm air as well as if
the room is warm to begin with.
We run the heater in our downstairs, and it helps our
thermostat to not constantly kick on. 
The combination of turning the thermostat down a couple degrees, hanging
the curtains in the doorways and running the space heater keeps my family
incredibly comfortable all day.  Yes, the
space heater adds cost to our electric bill, but it is not nearly as much as
how much we pay for oil.
My last two tips Drink Tea and Bake.
These two are definitely more fun.  I am a coffee drinker.  I love coffee, but there is no way that I can
drink coffee all day long – even though I might want to.  It wouldn’t be healthy to drink that much caffeine,
and decaf coffee just isn’t the same.  Herbal tea, however, is something you can
drink all day just fine. 
Drinking hot tea warms me up.  It warms up my hands, it warms my body, it is
good for you.  I think it is definitely a
win-win.  Winter sees me drinking a lot
of tea.  And it isn’t just me, my kids
will drink it as well.  Not as often, but
when they see me drinking tea, they want to as well.  It probably helps that I will put milk and
honey in it for them.
Baking.  It is a
wonderful way to warm up your house!  We
do a lot of baking in the winter; bread, casseroles, cookies, anything that I
can make in the oven, I try to during the winter.  While what I am making is baking, the house
warms up.  And once the oven has been
turned off, I leave the door of the oven open to let the residual heat come
into the rest of the house.  It is
surprising how warm the house stays when I am baking!  Plus, all those delicious treats, how can you
go wrong?!
These are the main ways we keep our heating costs low in the
winter.  There are other ways to stay warm
in a cooler house as well, sweaters, fingerless mitts, cowls, warm slippers or slippersocks.  All of these are
wonderful helps to stay warm in a cooler house.
What tips do you have
to keep heating costs low?  Do you see
yourself turning up the thermostat a little more with oil prices lower?

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27 Comments

  1. I love warming up with a nice cup of tea. As for getting a space heater, those things scare me. I actually do lower the thermostat in the house because I hate dry air and heat too.

  2. We literally just turned the heat on the night before last. I can't keep the temp down I get cold WAY too easy, but We do bake a lot and that defiantly keeps the house warmer!

  3. I live in SC and I have needed it on a few nights, surprisingly. The problem is that my thermostat is on the top floor in my house so there is noooo way to keep the bottom floor warm when we need it to be. It's the worst.

  4. Luckily it doesn't usually get too cold here, and I prefer to keep temperatures low. But I do use a space heater when I'm in a colder room for a long time!

  5. We got a NEST thermostat about 2 years ago and LOVE it! Don't have to program it as it learns.Really good to see on the app how much the heater/ac has been on. Look into one if you want to save $$.

  6. Haha we are constantly arguing about this in our house. My husband grew up with parents that didn't use heating at all, and I refuse to sit in a house with a hat and twenty sweaters on (I did that when I was broke at college – never again). We have FINALLY come to an agreement, on a low setting on the thermostat, and I bake a lot, so the kitchen is always nice and warm 🙂

  7. My house is always drafty. I need to invest in some good curtains as you suggested. These are very helpful ideas and I will certainly be implementing them.

  8. Our first winter in our Victorian showed us it was just as expensive to heat in January/February as it was to cool in July/August. We definitely make use of programmable thermostats upstairs and down and I'm working on getting curtains up in the few rooms that still have blinds. I use a space heater in my office because it seems to hold the least heat of all the rooms, but only when I'm in there and my feet are cold.

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