How to cut your home heating costs now: Internet ScamBusters; #157
With home heating costs skyrocketing, we decided to devote today's issue to simple and inexpensive ways to cut your home heating bills this winter -- without getting scammed.
10 Simple and Inexpensive Ways to Cut Your Home Heating
Bill This Winter -- Without Getting Scammed
As home heating costs go up, so do the number of scams that promise that you'll reap huge savings if you spend thousands of dollars on large-scale home improvements.
In fact, there are lots of companies out there promising that they can save you money on your energy bills -- but at a big price.
Unfortunately, many of these home improvements will take 15 to 20 years before you simply pay for the improvement -- let alone save any money! So, your "break-even point" is 15 or 20 years away -- that is, if you don't move to a different home in the interim.
So be very careful before you undertake a large home improvement project if your goal is to save money on home heating and cooling costs. Figure out how much you'll really be saving each year -- and then decide if it's worth it.
However, here's the good news: If you're worried that saving money on your home heating bills means spending a lot of money up front, worry no longer. We have ten simple and inexpensive ways to cut your home heating bills this winter.
The most obvious solution to saving on home heating bills is to turn down your thermostat. Even a couple of degrees can make a difference. However, here are 10 useful tips that are less obvious:
1. Clean Your Furnace
A clean furnace is an efficient furnace. If you're looking to save money on energy bills, you should start with having your furnace checked and cleaned. While this isn't the cheapest way to save on home heating costs, it is one of the most effective.
2. Change Your Air Filter
For less than $20 you can change the air filter on your furnace. A dirty air filter will block the airflow from your furnace and can actually decrease the furnace's life expectancy.
3. Use Your Ceiling Fans
This advice may sound counter-intuitive, but you should actually use your ceiling fans during the winter. A ceiling fan set in reverse can draw warm air through your home, helping to keep it warm.
4. Use Washing Machines and Dishwashers Wisely
When running your washing machine or your dishwasher, make sure that you only do full loads of laundry or dishes. If you don't run full loads, you'll need to run your appliances more frequently, wasting energy in the process.
5. Use Compact Fluorescent Lighting
Compact fluorescent light bulbs use less than half of the energy of incandescent light bulbs, and they last longer as well. Fluorescent lighting technology has improved dramatically over the past few years, so even if you didn't like fluorescent lighting in the past, it's worth trying again now.
6. Keep Shades Up and Blinds Open
Take advantage of natural daylight and solar heat through your windows. Rather than having light bulbs running all day, keep your shades and blinds open and you'll be able to make use of the natural sunlight and the warmth that naturally comes from the sun.
7. Insulate Your Water Heater
If you have an older model water heater, buy insulation wrap and insulate your water heater. It will help the heater retain heat and will help reduce your energy bill by about $20 per year. When you need to replace your water heater, buy an energy efficient model. (This is also good advice when you need to replace your furnace -- buy a high-efficiency model.)
8. Install and Use a Programmable Thermostat
If you talk to any heating and cooling specialist, they will tell you that one of the best things to do in order to save money on your energy bills is to install a programmable thermostat. You'll be able to program the thermostat to reduce the heat of your home when you're away and when you're asleep.
9. Seal Leaks
If you have air leaks in your home, seal them up with caulk or weather strips. Drafts can add significantly to your home heating costs during the winter, so make sure that you locate and seal off any drafts in your home.
10. Turn It Off
A simple rule of thumb is if you're not using it, turn it off. From lights to televisions to appliances, if you're not using them, make sure you turn them off or you're wasting energy on things you're not even using.
The U.S. Department of Energy offers a complete website designed to help you find ways to save money on your energy bills. You can find it here.
And our friend Tim Carter has an excellent article with more advice on how to winterize your home and save money on home heating bills here.
Let's face it; home heating costs are escalating. By using these 10 tips, you should see significant savings on your energy bills and you won't waste money on energy scams.
Time to close. We wish you a happy and healthy week.