Ask Your Frugal Friends: How do You Save $$ on Electricity & Heating Costs??

Ways To Save On Heating Costs

Baby, it’s cold outside!

Looking for ways to save BIG on electricity and heating costs??

Check out these helpful Tips and Tricks for Saving $$ on Electricity and Heating Costs!

Get the Tips at TheFrugalGirls.com

See Also:
Small Home Organization Tips

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46 Responses to Ask Your Frugal Friends: How do You Save $$ on Electricity & Heating Costs??

  1. Tina says:

    Not only shut the doors to rooms you do not use, but close the vents in there too. Programmable thermostat-turn the heat down a few degrees when you are gone all day and maybe during the night when you’re all tucked in warm beds too and turn the heat up in the early mornings to help get up and in the evenings when everyone is home, ours has four settings for each day. Do not turn it down too much when youre not home (espy if you have pets freezing there all day) but it will just run constantly to catch back up to normal on your return times. If you are trying to set the heat a little lower to save money even when you’re all home, make sure everyone has slippers, sweatshirts, and blankets for sitting around and then only do it 1 degree at a time. we used to be at 74 all winter long but we have worked it down to 69 and no one is freezing.

  2. Christina says:

    Congrats! I’m a new home owner as well. When it comes to heat, I do the following. During the day when the sun is shining I open the draperies and turn down the heat. The sun naturally heats the house as it shines in the windows. At night I close the drapes and because I like my house cooler when I sleep I turn down the heat even more. Use a programable thermostat. It helps. When you go on vacation turn the heat down to the lowest you feel safest doing so with. Any rooms you’re not using close the vents and keep the doors closed to.

    For electricty: Turn off any lights you’re not using. Unplug any electronics you’re not using. Switch to the light bulbs that are energy effecient.

    Hope this helps! Congrats again!

  3. Dana says:

    I have insulated curtains…open on sunny days. As far as temp, I would get a thermostat you can program. You can set it to turn down when you are at work and night. Do not turn off in case it gets super cold. At night I turn mine down to about 50. and only go to 62-65 during the day. Just wear sweats. I have a 3000 sq foot home and electric bill runs no more than 170 and that is with it VERY cold…..

  4. Michelle says:

    The main thing I would stress is to install a programmable thermostat if the house isn’t already equipped with one. It will bring the house temperature down at night if you want, then gradually bring it back up where you want it during the day. If the house is empty during the weekdays, you can program it to go back down a little on those days and come back up to temp before you get home. You do not want to turn it all the way off at night…it will work too hard trying to bring it back up in the morning. You can override the programed temperature, but it’s best to set it then agree with other family members that it stays put.

  5. Jessica says:

    My brother works in HVAC. He has said that the most efficient use of your heating/cooling system is to keep the house at a consistent temperature for the most part. If you are gone for long periods during the day, and at night, can turn the system down a few degrees, but do not turn it off, if you are going to be gone for a longer period of time for a trip can turn it down a little more. You will use a lot more energy (electricity/$$) if you turn it off, or down very low and then come home and want it to warm up quickly, but remember the lower you turn it down, the longer and harder the system is going to have to work to bring the temp up to what you would like it. In our apartment, we keep the temperature a bit chilly in the winter, I always wear a sweatshirt when at home to save money on heating costs.

  6. Angie says:

    Programmable thermostat. We set ours so it keeps the house cooler at night and set it to warm up the house just before the alarm goes off in the morning. Also when we are gone during the day it is set cooler and then to warm up about the time we arrive home. Keep vents and doors to rooms you don’t use closed, and blinds curtains closed will help so you don’t loose as much heat through windows.

  7. Angie says:

    A thermostat that you can program. We set ours so it keeps the house cooler at night and set it to warm up the house just before the alarm goes off in the morning. Also when we are gone during the day it is set cooler and then to warm up about the time we arrive home. Keep vents and doors to rooms you don’t use closed, and blinds curtains closed will help so you don’t loose as much heat through windows.

  8. Diana Forte says:

    I agree with everyone else. Those programmable thermostats are the best. Our bedroom is 67 all the time. We have 2 zones which maybe you can consider a couple of zones. Blinds open during the day. Second thermostat goes to 68 at 10pm, then to 70 the following morning around 6:30 til 8;30 when everyone goes to work. 4pm its back to 70 til 10pm. works for us

  9. Kari says:

    We’ve used electric portable heaters for years, NOT the baseboard ones in the apartments. (Except the bathroom.) Our heating bills are MUCH less. I turn them off during the day (unless it’s frigid) and just bundle up. Some will say to do that the opposite way but since we’re gone most/all day this makes more sense for us.

    When we *do* use the regular heaters we never turn them past 65-67 degrees. Turning them up and down constantly will also raise your rates.

    You might want to see if your power company offers a low income (if you are) program or a ‘set rate each month’ where it’s based on the past years fee, but set flat rate each month. I think with most you have to have a zero balance to do that first.

    Good luck!
    Kari (Seattle)

  10. Kymberly says:

    ITA with programmable thermostat and not deviating TOO much.

    In truth I think stopping leaks, gaps, and such is FAR more frugal than fretting about turning your therm up and down 3-4 degrees.

  11. Luci says:

    Check for drafts. Caulk and weatherstrip were needed. In one apartment we had we didn’t realize how much heating and cooling we were losing along the outside wall. Ours happened to be a brick wall (likely a single layer with no insulation) the other walls and ceiling were drywall. After sitting at my computer and freezing thinking the brick was just cold, I carefully inspected where cold winter air was pouring into the room. Most was coming in the spaces where the brick and drywall met. Used expanding foam for those areas. Room felt a good 20 degrees warmer after that.

    Usually, leaks will be at windows and doors where caulk or weatherstripping might be worn. Some outlets might not have enough insulation. Ask a home improvement store for tips. Some run free workshops to show you how to do prep your home.

    Don’t turn the heat off for long periods, just turn it down. You don’t want to accidentally freeze your pipes.

  12. Christie McKenzie says:

    Check for drafts around windows and doors. This can be done with a lit candle. While holding the candle still, watch for movement with the flame or for the flame to blow out. If there are drafts, consider replacing weather strippling, or using plastic sheeting on the inside (or outside) of windows.

    Look into buying thermal drapes. These are lineed with a material that helps keep out the cold. As a plus, these tend to be thicker drapes, and thus can help keep out the daylight longer, encourage children to sleep in on the weekends. :)

    You can buy a special box for the end of your dryer vent hose that will allow your dryer to vent into the house. The box will catch the lint, but it will blow the dry air back into the house. (If you are already paying to heat up the dryer, why waist the warm moist air coming out of it?) Just be careful that your house doesn’t get too humid, or it can cause condensation problems on your windows which can cause mold.

    If you choose not to go the above route, consider purchasing a couple lower cost humidifiers. Moist air feels warmer than dry air. (think heat index in summer…) And in the winter, our furnaces tend to dry the air out!!

    When you use your oven, allow the door to remain open while the oven cools off. (Again, the idea is to make use of the warm air you have already spent energy heating.)

    Also, remember that foods such as warm hearty soups, are not only cheap to prepare, but they also warm us from the inside out, and help us to feel warm even when the air is a little cool and crisp.

    Try bumping the thermostat down on your water heater a little at a time. Most of us have ours set at a temp higher than necessary. And it takes more energy to constantly heat the water in the tank to that level. Just be careful not to turn it down too far. If you are consistantly running out of hot water, you aren’t doing yourself any favor because of the amount of cold water the water heater has to warm up. Also, consider insulating your water pipes. This will keep the water leaving your water heater warmer along it’s route (especially if it’s in a cold crawl space).

  13. Patricia Bell says:

    During the winter, bake something in the oven everyday. That will help keep your home warm throughout the time you are baking.(plus makes your house smell great!) Laundry, do your wash during the day and use your dryer during the evening (a large energy efficient dryer can dry multiple loads) lots of quilts on the bed so you can be snuggly and warm while you sleep. Of course if you are in a part of the country that supports it year round you must consider solar energy. good luck with it all.

  14. Stephanie says:

    I live in Texas, so it’s harder to keep the house cool than it is to keep it warm. I bought thermal-backed curtains for all windows that get full sun during the day. Walmart had some nice ones for about $20 per panel.

    I also unplug anything not in use. Just unplugging your phone charger, TV, computer, hair dryer, etc makes a huge difference – don’t just turn them off, UNPLUG them. Even if there’s nothing attached to the charger or the hairdryer is off, they are still eating electricity!

  15. Alicia says:

    We have a plan with our electric company. We get a discounted rate for almost the whole day, but between 3pm – 6pm we pay a premium. The way this works for us is that we don’t use almost any electricity during 3-6, specifically air conditioning/heating, oven. A computer and TV and the such is okay because they use a low amount of energy. We don’t completely turn off the air or heat because it will work too hard later on when we turn it back on, but we will raise the temperature for the air conditioner to 80. This greatly reduces the electricity bill because we can have the air conditioner at a very comfortable rate the rest of the day since we pay a discounted rate the rest of the day. Our company has another plan in which we would pay a premium for 8 hours of the day instead of only 3, and then the rest of the day would have an even greater discounted rate, but we haven’t tried that one yet. It really works for us, and it is worth it to try to find out if your company does this.

  16. Bethany says:

    I’ve had a little success lowering my electric bill by drying my clothes either later at night (like after 9p) or early morning (like around 5a). That way i’m not trying to use electricity when everybody else using it — if everybody using at the same time, the “load” is higher and that’s when the electric company charges more. Same with running my dishwasher — sounds crazy but it works a little

  17. whitney says:

    We have propane heat. So we save money by turning of the furnace at night and run space heaters in my room and two kiddos room. We also use some electric heaters during the day and stay in our play room so we dont use a lot of heat. With doing this our electric bill is about 120 a month and we only use about 20% of our propane tank.

  18. dee says:

    I freeze and my hubz thinks the room temp is just fine. Sooo, I bought an electric throw while sitting and watching tv or staying on the internet…lol. Anyway, we can keep the thermostat turned down much lower now.

  19. Jill says:

    -Use compact fluorescent lights (CFL), and programmable timers
    -On the interior sides of EXTERIOR walls install gaskets around
    the light and electrical plates
    -Make sure the attic is well insulated.
    -Use thermal drapes
    -Install a programmable thermostat
    -Wash clothes in cold water
    -Lower temperature on the hot water heater
    -If your water heater isn’t already insulated, buy a
    insulating blanket at the hardware store
    -Disconnect the 2nd freezer or refrigerator if you don’t need it (just turn it on when you’re getting ready for a party, etc.)
    -Wrap your refrigerator in a material called “reflectix” (or something like that!), it cut down my energy usage on that appliance by 25%
    -Vacuum the coils on the back of your fridge at least once a year – or upgrade to Energy Star Appliances when you can.
    -Make sure you have clean filters in the heater
    -Don’t run around in shorts and tank tops and crank the heat to 80 degrees. Buy everyone sweats, slippers, long johns, etc.
    - Get yourself a number of power strips and plug in the cell phone chargers, computer, printer, etc. Turn the power strip off when not in use. Phantom loads are responsible for a lot of energy usage.

  20. Carina says:

    To save on electricity I hang my clothes up in the basement since the basement is being heated anyways and in the summertime I hang it outside. And if I use the dryer in the winter I make sure to have the vent venting inside.
    Also we cover our windows with plastic for drafty windows. Which has helped us keep the cost of heating down. We have to little kids laying around on the floor so we need to keep the heat set pretty high when it get the coldest, but we also keep doors closed in rooms we don’t use and shut vents so the heat goes other places then in rooms we don’t need to heat.

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