We’re about a month into fall right now, and though it doesn’t seem like it, colder weather is right around the corner. We’ve been lucky so far in that the temperatures have been mild, or some may even say warm. This will come to pass, and you will eventually have to flip the on switch for your heater. With the price of gas and electricity constantly on the rise, and no sign of relief in the near future, it’s important that you save as much money as possible, while still remaining comfortable in your home.
First, know that while there is probably one supplier in your area who is the most popular, they are not the only answer. If you do an internet search, you may find that there are other gas or electric suppliers within your area that can guarantee lower prices. If you are uncomfortable with switching providers, some companies have different plans that may assist you with budgeting. For example, some gas/electricity companies have plans where you literally have a debit card account on energy. You put “X” amount of dollars into your account, and once you near that number, you can either choose to replenish your funds or cut back on turning on the central heating. Some areas even have heating funds provided by the city government which will provide assistance for those who cannot afford their heating bill. You must meet certain requirements to be eligible for these funds, but it can’t hurt to check with your local/city government to see if this type of program is available in your area.
Next, pay attention to how warm you keep your house. If you’re walking around your home in a t-shirt and shorts during the peak of winter, then it’s safe to say that you are keeping your heater on too high a temperature. Instead, try lowering your thermostat significantly. You can bundle up in more clothes and lower your thermostat. If you’re able to, set your thermostat to 68 degrees while awake, and turn down 10-15 degrees lower while you sleep. By turning your thermostat down 10-15 degrees while you sleep, you can save 5-15% on your heating bill during the span of a year.
Invest in a timer for your thermostat. These programmable thermostats will ensure that your heater is on the most efficient temperature needed during certain times of the day. For example, if no one is in the house all day (i.e. everyone’s at work), then the heater does not need to be on during these hours…this is for safety reasons as well. Instead, set the timer for approximately 15-20 minutes prior to your getting home, so the house can be nice and warm for when you arrive. This time can also be used for automatically turning the heating down at night while you go to sleep, and up before you wake up.
Saving energy on your heating bills is really quite easy if you understand the basic principles of heating. Many people are under the impression that the most efficient way to keep your house warm and your bill low is to constantly heat the home at a low temperature. This really doesn’t make sense, as leaving the system on all day is only going to cost you money…especially when no one is home! Instead, you should heat the home only when needed, and then, keep your thermostat at the lowest reasonable setting to keep your comfortable.