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Baby, it’s cold outside! Tips to reduce your heating bill this winter

Nov 29, 2022 | Real Estate Advice | 0 comments

By: Danielle Wadsworth, MRE

Baby, it’s cold outside….
Tips to reduce your heating bill this winter

Every year, I vow to dress warmer so I can save money on my heat bill. Shortly after this vow, I throw caution to the wind, prepared to sell a kidney if I must, and turn my heat up to a balmy 72. I am a summer baby, and the northeast winters are not for me.  Sadly, many families across the region struggle with the same dilemma every year. And this year promises to be especially tough on the wallet. 

The bad news

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects that U.S. consumers can expect to pay up to 28% more to heat their homes this winter than last year due to rising fuel costs and slightly colder weather.

Nearly half of U.S. households rely on natural gas for heat, with the average winter heating cost expected to rise to $931, up by 28% from last year, EIA said.

Electricity is the primary heating source for about 40% of homes. It is more expensive than gas at an estimated $1,359 per household this winter – but that is just a 10% increase from last winter.

Less than 12 million homes rely on heating oil or propane – about 9% of the roughly 130 million U.S. households – but those fuels will remain the most expensive sources of heat this winter with cost increases of 27% to $2,354 for heating oil and 5% to $1,668 for propane.

Unfortunately, the biggest concentration of homes that rely on oil is in the Northeast.  I am sure you or someone you know is struggling with the price of oil to heat their home.

What can you do about it?

While upgrading your furnace and windows will work wonders for your heating bills, the people most worried about the upcoming heating season likely don’t have the budget for major home improvements. So, let’s look at some affordable options to take some of the bite out of those heating bills.

Windows – Make sure all your windows are locked. Open shades and blinds during the day to let the sun shine in and provide additional warmth. Close the shades and blinds at night to block any drafts or chill. For an even bigger impact, you can cover your windows with plastic. This is especially helpful for older houses. I purchased a kit on Amazon that covers nine windows for less than $20. Concentrate on windows that face west. 

Doors – Invest in a twin door draft stopper (less than $20 on Amazon). These slip under your door and have a draft dodger on each side so no matter which side you close the door, it’s protected. Don’t forget to add one to your attic, basement, and even closet doors! Installing a storm door ($200-$400) can also reduce draft and heat loss. Seal up any pet doors for the season.

Thermostats – Consider upgrading to a programmable thermostat (less than $100 on Amazon). Program the temperature to be low while the house is empty or at night. I use a space heater in my bedroom and turn down the rest of the house at night. 

Dodge the draft – Perform a draft test on your home. Light an incense stick and hold it up to a door, window, vent, electrical outlet or switch and see if the smoke blows. If so, work to seal up any holes, cracks or gaps.

Other tips – Make sure the fireplace damper is closed when not in use. Rearrange furniture, long drapes and other obstacles so vents are not blocked. Have a small pet that hogs the floor vent? Put a plastic crate over the vent and lay a small towel or piece of fabric on top. They can lay on the crate while not obstructing the flow of heat into the room. Make sure you get your furnace serviced so that it is operating most efficiently. Utilize any wood stoves, fireplaces, etc. for supplemental heat. 

Some of my additional favorite ways to stay warm are snuggling under an electric blanket, cuddling with my cats, and sipping a nice mug of hot cocoa. 

All of us at Dream Home Realty wish you the warmest of toes and noses, and the lowest of heating bills


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