How to Save Money on Winter Heating Costs

As the cold weather continues to spread across the United States, it’s time to buckle down for winter. For many homeowners, this means preparing for an increased cost associated with heating their homes.

If you’re feeling the pinch already, you’re not alone. According to the Department of Energy, heating and cooling account for 56% of energy use in a typical home. This adds up quickly, but don’t stress quite yet. There are tangible ways to save money on winter heating costs this year.

Find Out Where You Stand

You might want to save money but have no idea where you currently stand.

That’s okay. Consider calling a local contractor or electricity company to perform an audit of your home and property. Many local providers perform this service for free. During the audit you’ll learn simple ways to save this winter on heating and other electrical appliances.

Some of these practices may include:

Focus on Insulation

A well-insulated home keeps the heat inside, where it should be. This saves money in the long run by making sure the heat you’re paying for is actually heating your home.

Start by bringing your attic up to code for your state and municipality. If you have questions about what’s required, enter your zip code into this insulation program calculator, and then get to work. Be sure to seal all ducts, plumbing and other possible weak spots because leaky ducts account for 10-30% of heating costs.

Contact Various Service Providers

Just because you’ve always worked with the same heating provider doesn’t mean this is the most cost-effective option for your household. Take the time to contact various heating providers that service your system and check their rates.

Ask questions about the following:Shopping around could save you a significant amount this winter.

Consider Alternative Heating Options

Yes, a new heating system can be a costly expenditure. However, it can also be a wise long-term investment. It’s a well-known fact that different heating options are associated with different costs. Just because you’ve been filling your oil tank for decades doesn’t mean you couldn’t be saving more over time.

Geothermal heat pumps are one of the most cost-effective options available today. They operate by taking advantage of the ground, which maintains a consistent temperature of 55 degrees Fahrenheit. While the pumps can be costly to install, they use 50% less electricity than standard systems and can be used to heat and cool a home.

Heating your home this winter doesn’t have to break your budget. If you take the right steps today, you can save money this winter, regardless of what the season brings in terms of the weather.
By Anum Yoon
Anum Yoon is a personal finance writer based in Philadelphia. You can read more about her money management strategies on her blog, Current on Currency.

Copyrighted 2016. Content published with author's permission.

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