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.

  21. Teresa says

    PLEASE DO NOT SHUT TOO MANY VENTS OFF AT A TIME!! Our family friend owns an HVAC company and he said that trying to force 100% of the air through less registers will burn up your motor in a few years…..making it WAY more expensive than just turning down the heat a few degrees. It sounds like a great idea but is costing people a fortune :)

    Our tips are just snuggle in, layer and turn it down a few degrees. Your family will let you know when you’ve gone too low! LOL

  22. Missy_in_WV says

    What everybody else said…plus my mother gave my son and I electric mattress warmers as gifts many years ago. They are like an electric blanket but fit around the mattress like a cover and you lay on top. We can keep the house a lot cooler because we have warm beds (great for arthritis too!). We just turn them on about half hour before bed and they are set to turn off automatically after so many hours. There’s two separate controls if your spouse doesn’t like his side that warm. Best gift I’ve ever received.

  23. Andrea says

    Sorry this isn’t a comment. I read through all the others on here, but I have a question about getting a set rate each month on the electricity bill. I think I saw a news report that said you could be overcharged by doing that. Is it true? And how do you know what rate is a good rate, if typically the bill is much less during the winter?

  24. Candy says

    Hang your clothes up to dry inside your house. That will save about 30 or so dollars per month, and the air will get the humidity, so you won’t have to use humidifier as much.

  25. Crystal says

    im so glad to see this everyone laughs at me about how anal i am about this we have a programable thermostat its always set @ 70 no lights on during the day we open all the blinds we only run the dishwasher 1-2days a week and only run laundry on sunday’s at night time only lights on are the ones in the rooms that are being used and if everyone is home the porch lights are off too. this has saved us a lot each bill is no more then $50..and we have a huge house!! so they can keep laughing while im saving tons of money

  26. Stephanie says

    We are getting foam insulation put in to hopefully help in our heating. Does anyone have that for input on it?

  27. cann says

    I did the budget plan with my company and it wasnt a good as they said it would be. I ended up paying more in the long run. I also had a “balloon” payment at the end of my term. I would not advise doing that one again. I think the best way is to turn it down a degree or two and caulk and look for drafts.

  28. Tara says

    One way to save on heating (and cooling) costs is to install timers on your bathroom exhaust fan & kitchen exhaust fan. I used to turn on my exhaust fans & then I’d forget about them & they’d run, sometimes for hours & hours, blowing my heat (or cold) right outside. Timers definitely will solve that. I also crack the oven door open after baking so the heat escapes faster (a benefit in both the winter & summer).

  29. Tara says

    The coat closet nearest to the front door is rarely insulated, especially in older homes & especially a closet the shares an exterior wall with the front door, so that could be a good place for a draft- blocker (temporarily).
    I just recently realized that there is little or no insulation (equals big air leakage) between my kitchen cabinets & the exterior wall behind them. I happened to be looking in one of the lower cabinets on a very cold night & a breeze blew in right on me. Brrrr. I didn’t see any visible cracks that could be sealed right now & we’re a couple of years away from a remodel (new cabinets, yippee!!), so I haven’t figured out a solution yet, except to always keep the doors shut.

  30. maura says

    1. We put plastic over some of our windows to cut down on drafts in the winter
    2.Use insulated curtains
    3.Installed a boot on our attic and that made a HUGE difference
    4.Programmable thermo.
    5.Insulate our hot water heater
    6.check the temp on your hot water heater and lower it
    7.put lights on timers
    8.always use compact floursant bulbs
    9.use a smart strip power strip, we have it for our computer and components and one for our tv and all the components
    10. install door sweeps on your outside doors
    11. use the crock pot this is a HUGE moneysaver and time saver as well
    12. check the settings on your fridge and freezer, make sure you don’t have them set too cold
    13. don’t use the drying cycle on a dishwasher
    14. used the automatic setting on your clothing dryer (not timed)
    15. Use cold water instead of hot water in your washer

  31. Luci says

    The whole wall is likely not insulated enough. Because the cabinets are closed and not getting the interior air. For inside those kitchen cabinets on the exterior wall you could try foam board insulation or foam core board trimmed to fit. But I’d try some expanding foam insulation in any crevaces first. Check around plumbing and the where the base of the cabinet meets the wall for gaps. We had lots of cold air pouring in from under our dishwasher in that same apartment. We had had a mouse enter from under the dishwasher. I don’t think maintenance sealed any holes from the outside under the siding. They did inside by the plumbing through the cabinet to the disposal where the critter chewed the cabinet wall at the plumbing lines.

  32. Mel says

    We’ve always been a conservative family, but about a year ago we started unplugging TVs, chargers, kitchen appliances, etc. that were not in use. This has made a HUGE difference in our electric bill. I was quite surprised how much electricity was being wasted just by having things plugged in, even when turned off. Power strips with an on/off switch also work great!

  33. Betsy says

    Teresa is exactly right about not shutting off too many vents at a time – I work with lots of HVAC contractors and they all agree it puts undue strain on the furnace/ac, and doesn’t really save you that much money in the long run.

    Programmable thermostat is a must-have! Plastic on windows to stop drafts in the winter is also a good idea – you can get kits at Lowe’s/Home Depot that have everything you need.

    One idea that I didn’t see mentioned — lots of utility companies offer free “energy audits”, where they will come in and inspect your home and tell you ways you could be saving money on your energy bill. I did this, and got a FREE programmable thermostat (installed – he even set up the programs for me!!), a low-flow shower head, energy efficient lightbulbs, and a big rebate on the insulation that I had put in. It is well worth a phone call/visit to the website to see if your utility does this.

  34. Sandypo says

    Never have a difference of more than 8 degrees between the lowest and the highest temps for your thermostat or you will waste the money you saved keeping it cool when the heating system brings the temperature back up. We have a contemporary tri-level with cathedral ceilings, we have oil heat and we live in New England — believe me, we do everything we can think of to lower our heating costs. We use a programmable thermostat to keep our house at 67 when we’re home and 59 at night and when we’re at work. We have a low flow toilet and recently bought a new refrigerator to replace our almost 20 year old model in the federal cash for clunker appliances program — all to try and lower our energy costs. We use down comforters on the beds at night in the winter and the thermostat is set to bring up the heat about 15 minutes before I get up. I use the cold water setting in the majority of my washing machine loads and I use the low heat setting on the dishwasher, which I only run every other day or less. We also have a whole house fan which sucks a lot of the hot air out of the house in the summer, which means we don’t have to use the central air if its not really hot out. My mother complains that our house is cold whenever she visits, but we just can’t afford to keep the house too warm.
    Oh, and did you know using your microwave is cheaper than using your stove if your stove is electric? It’s true!

  35. Marcia says

    I have for years turned off our water heater until we needed it for dish washing, showers, laundry…I tried leaving it on constantly one month and the following month (similar outside temps) noticed a $30 rise in the bill just from leaving the water heater on…also use an insulating blanket on the water heater and pipes. Always lock your windows…that extra step is imperative to create a good seal. Otherwise it is as if you left the window open!

  36. says

    In the winter I use the heat from my electric dryer, when I disconnect it from the outside, I cover the hole that the vent hose would be in, I put a stocking over the vent hose…and make the vent hose go up and over my dryer, not touching the dials, and the warm air comes into the house and helps to heat the inside, saves on heating costs, and I am doing two jobs in one that way…Hope this comment helps someone….

  37. Wanda says

    Instead of buying insulated curtains, buy plastic shower curtains and hang them behind your curtains or blinds, it works just as well and costs a lot less…

  38. says

    I know this is about a month old but I wanted to reply because I recently learned something surprising. Did you know that even if you don’t use any gas you are still charged money? For us, it was $35 one month when we had absolutely no gas usage. The only thing in our home that runs on gas is our furnace. So during the warmer months we turned off gas to our house. We called the gas company and completely shut it off. Around October 1st we called to have it turned back on, it cost about $15 to do that but we’d just saved a cpl hundred over the course of the warm months (May to October).

    This won’t work for everyone since water heaters can run on gas, but maybe it can help some.

  39. Laura says

    I just run across this post,so I thought I would addmy 2 cents worth. Definately get a programable thermostat! Have runners at the bottom of your doors to keep any excess heat/air from gong out. No one mentioned this, but your cealing fans have a switch to reverse the spin; in the winter, reverse them and it will push the heat down towards the floor (hot air rises!). I had a friend that put aluminum foil on the inside of her windows in the back; shinny side facing out for summer to keep the heat out and shinny side facing in for winter to keep the heat inand cold air out. Hope this helps.

  40. Alanna says

    We have all rooms equipped with a power strip and all lamps, TVs, DVD players, fans and radios are plugged into it. Every morning after the kids have gone o school and my husband has left for work I just flip the switch and cut all power.

  41. Deb says

    I now live alone, “empty nester” and am trying hard to save on all expenses daily to keep afloat$$. I keep my thermostat on 55 all day and night during the week when I am gone 12 hours a day to work and turn it up to 60 for one hour when I get home to warm the house a little. On weekends I keep the thermostat at 63 if I am going to be home a lot. I have a mattress warmer on a timer to warm the bed 30 minutes before I go to bed, these are wonderful! I have a small electric heater in my bedroom that is on a timer to come on (weekdays)one hour before I wake and have found if that is not enough to make it bearable for showering I use my hairdryer in the bathroom for 2-3 minutes and it makes it very comfortable. I have plastic on my leaky windows and sliding glass doors from fall to spring. I put a reflective film on my south facing windows to block the summer sun and heat and use a small fan over the floor register to push the A/C up to the ceiling in the afternoon in the south upstairs bedroom.
    I am looking for a woman to rent one of the extra bedrooms to help with expenses, so far no luck. Isn’t this fun? yeh.

  42. CC says

    Thanks ladies, this was a great site to find!
    But Deb: The electric company told my cub scout that hair dryers are a horrible energy hog! You might want to use your space heater a few more minutes instead!

    Allana’s idea I can probably use, pop the power switches! Although it won’t work with husband’s computers [he downloads files during the day & night] it will work when kids go to bed. No need using power when sleeping.

    My thermostat varies between 66 and 70. I can’t imagine it as low as 50 since we can’t tolerate cold noses. And have my water heater turned down, but turned OFF? Marcia, at what times do you do that?!

    I know insulating curtains works, but does covering with aluminum foil actually save energy?
    I’ll check back for more tips :-)

  43. Patti Ann says

    Someone wrote that they turn their heat down to 50 degrees. Unfortunately if their pipes froze and burst their insurance wouldn’t cover it if the insurance adjuster found out that the heat was kept below 55 degrees. Something to think about. I use a programmable thermostat LOVE IT. Thanks for all the great tips!

  44. carol cook says

    You don’t need to buy any special contraption to use your clothes dryer to help heat your home. Just use an old nylon stocking or leg from pantyhose, and secure it around the end of your dryer vent hose. It will catch the lint and provide heat when you are using your dryer, anyway. We used this idea over 25 years ago, and it worked great! Just be sure to check the nylon stocking frequently, and either clean it or replace it before it builds up too much.

  45. Jennifer says

    It’s important to have good insulation in your home – especially in your attic. If you see areas on your roof without snow and you have a lot of ice sickles – then you have an insulation problem with your attic. My Dad does Heating & Cooling for a living. He said that by fixing your insulation you can get your $$ back from your reduced heating bills within a year by fixing insulation and leaks from doors & windows. Good Luck!

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