How To Lower Your Heating Bill In 4 Steps

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BIG heating bills

The future is not what it used to be. In case you didn’t know, the summer of 2014 was one of the coolest on record, with temperatures under the 90 degree mark being the norm.

Or, to put it bluntly, the global warming proved to be actually a “marketing” myth.  The reality is that we’re actually being confronted with a global cooling and after one of the coldest summers in recent years, we should prepare ourselves for a tough winter ahead.

{adinserter usdeception}Yes, dark, cold and miserable days are coming folks. Along with the cold winter months, you’ll suffer from the winter blues too, courtesy of your energy bill (at least partially).

Unfortunately the price of energy/heating fuels is on the rise while the wages are stagnating and economic recovery sometimes feels like it’s just another myth. But yet, there’s no inflation, right?

So, what can be done in order to lower your heating bill this winter? Stick with me and I will show you four simple energy saving ways that will help get through the cold season.

Step 1: Home Insulation

This should be an obvious answer for everyone and yet it’s often disregarded (maybe because it requires some investments initially, but they’re worth it in the long run).

Having an efficient home insulation system is similar to wearing the proper clothing on a cold winter day. The principle is the same, conserving energy and preventing the loss of (body) heat.

So, the general idea is to make your home as snug as physically possible, meaning that both the walls and the attic should be properly insulated. Well-insulated walls, ceilings and attics will make a world of difference in cutting your energy bill.

Insulating walls is not the easiest job in the world, nor the cheapest, but it’s very effective long-term. The same principle applies to attic/ceiling/floor insulation. Just to get an idea, a well-insulated home will reduce heating costs by up to 50-60 percent and that’s a lot in our book.

Along with wall and ceiling insulation, you should consider using high-efficiency windows (you should go for ENERGY STAR windows) and also properly seal leaky duct work and doors.

You should seal all drafts in window frames using foam sealant or silicone caulking and when it comes to switches and electrical outlets, you can use draft gaskets. On doors and windows, you should use weather stripping. Don’t forget to take care of pet doors too, if any.

All these things combined will help lower your energy bill during both wintertime and in the summer, because those AC systems use power too and if the heat can get out, the same goes for the cool air when it’s 100 degrees outside.

Step 2: Heat Conservation

Even in the winter, you should take advantage of the sun for heating your home since it’s absolutely free of charge. This trick is called passive solar heating and it works like this: just open your drapes when the sun is shining during the day (the south/west facing windows) and after sunset, close them again (this helps with heat insulation during nighttime).

If you have a fireplace, keep the damper shut when it’s not in use, thus preventing the heat from escaping through the chimney.  If you’re not using the fireplace at all, you should permanently block the chimney using special rigid insulation.

You can re-arrange your furniture during winter so you’ll not be sitting near external walls, too. They tend to be colder than other spots in the room.

The same principle applies with drafty spots. You should avoid them like the plague and if it’s at all possible, fix the draft ASAP because if cold air’s getting it, warm air’s getting out and wasting your energy.

Take care of your heating system. Maintain it regularly and keep it working with maximum efficiency. Keep in mind that a wood burning stove or a wood fireplace is way more efficient in terms of heat conservation than a gas fireplace/oven.

Also, you can use scrap wood, pellets and what not (cheap stuff) in a wood operated heating system, meaning that you’re energy-independent. That certainly counts for something.

Heat tends to go up, hence reversing your ceiling fans, if any, is a nice trick that prevents dissipating the heat through the roof in the winter.

If you’re using an old thermostat, you should consider upgrading it with a programmable unit that permits you to lower the temps while you’re at work or sleeping. Also, keep the thermostat as low as possible (without causing discomfort) and the temperature in a nice steady range. If your living space is not vast, you should consider a space heater instead of using a central home heating unit.

Another nice trick for conserving energy during winter is to use heavy curtains or blankets over windows (except for when using the sun’s heat obviously) and around the bed, thus conserving trapped body heat during the night.

Dress properly for the cold season. If you’re dressed in shorts and a tee shirt in January, your thermostat is way too high. Stay warm at night using comforters and blankets; don’t be afraid to use an extra pair of socks or a blanket instead of turning up the heat.

shrink heating bill heating

Step 3: Consumption Control

Using less energy means leaving more money in your pocket at the end of the month. Consumption control is the next logical step in our quest for lowering the heating bill during the winter.

Consumption control translates into eliminating wasted energy. That means turning off lights when they’re not necessary (unoccupied rooms for example), taking shorter showers during the winter (thus saving tens of gallons of unnecessary hot water), unplugging unused electrical equipment (fans, refrigerators), using cold water for washing dishes and clothes (if possible), always doing full loads of everything, and using the sleep function on your TV/computer/monitor.

The easiest way to minimize electricity loss is to use Energy Star compatible electronics and appliances. Keep in mind that low flow faucets and showerheads will dramatically cut your hot water expenses.

Step 4: Smart Fuels

Last but not least, choosing smart fuels can help with lowering your heating bill dramatically during harsh winters. What are smart fuels, you may ask?

Approximately half of all American homes are using gas for heating and cooking during wintertime. Gas became hugely popular due to the breakthrough in the fracking technology in recent years, which made the prices drop.

There are alternatives to that. We won’t get into solar panels or anything the like, but the good old fashioned (and renewable) wood is still a viable option that’s regaining popularity.

As we already discussed, a home heating system using wood is sometimes the best choice (and also very efficient) when it comes to achieving energy independence. It’s way easier to gather wood and other combustible goods for heating than to be reliant upon electricity or gas from your utility company.

You can use a wood stove for heating/cooling and also use wood pellets, wood chips, coal, or whatever is available to you vs natural gas or electricity that you have to have piped in. Even if natural gas is generally thought of as being the most economical way for heating your residence, wood is very competitive also, even more affordable in certain places or situations.

The most important thing about using wood for heating your home is that it takes you off the grid completely. Also, it’s cost-competitive, you’ll have more price certainty (natural gas prices are fluctuating) and you can always stockpile wood when the price is “right” (yes, wood prices are fluctuating too, but they are generally way more stable).

You can use wood or wood pellets or any other inflammable material in ANY location, as opposed to natural gas, which is not available everywhere. There are many ways to heat your home using wood, ranging from the traditional wood stove to the latest high tech ultra-efficient furnaces that are using pellets (made of wood, wheat, corn, cardboard or whatever).

If you have other thoughts or ideas, don’t hesitate to share them in the comment section below.

new EMP02

This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia.

12,710 total views, 4 views today

Chris Black

About Chris Black

Chris Black is a born and bred survivalist. He used to work as a contractor for an intelligence service but now he is retired and living off the grid, as humanly possible. An internet addict and a gun enthusiast, a libertarian with a soft spot for the bill of rights and the Constitution, a free market idealist, he doesn't seem very well adjusted for the modern world. You can send Chris a message at editor [at] survivopedia.com.
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Comments

  1. samnjoeysgrama says:

    Just for general information for those still mired in the "carbon foot print" ideology: Wood that is burned releases exactly the same amount of carbon as wood that rots naturally in the forest. Just a simple scientific fact. Burning is just faster.
    You can also make a homemade passive solar window heater for free. Here is a good video on construction: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BvL-k8NyPA8
    I live at 8500 feet in the Rockies and heat with a combination of propane and wood. If you wear long johns in the winter you will be comfortable, without them, it is dang cold! When you get cold, you will be lethargic and get less done. If only for the sake of efficiency, stay warm!

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  2. Keith Frazier says:

    Other things you can do is change your furnace filter so there are less restrictions and it runs more efficiently. Also clean all coils(back or under or both that look kinda like a car radiator) on your refridgerator/freezer of dust so it gets plenty of air circulation. You can use your vacuum hose with attachments or even blow them off with air compressor(keep in mind blowing it only displaces it into air and around it and is extremely messy..........ask me how I know?). Im not sure how much it saves, it makes it run more efficient though and every little bit counts.

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  3. Chris, you neglected to mention insulation under the floor. I do home inspections an this is nearly always missing in my market area on crawlspace homes. Yes, hot air rises. And when it does, it takes heat from your home with it. AND when it leaves via the myriad of boles in your ceiling, it creates a vacuum inside, which COLD air from outside comes and fills. Which you have to heat. A LARGE portion of that cold.air comes in via the floor and gaps in the lower half of your home. Seal them up and you will reduce some of the 'stack effect' that is costing you heat and money. According to some sources, 20% or more of the energy bill of a normal house in North America can be attributed to air infiltration heat loss.

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  4. I have a 150 year old house that had Gas space heaters installed in it. My winter Heating bills are almost half of what my friends with the central heating systems pay---That is why I have not converted to a modern heating system.
    I attribute it to being able to cut the heat entirely off to rooms I am not using either ALL the time or according to the time of day. I can also turn the flames down to just enough to balance the heat loss for even more savings.
    I might have to fiddle with each heater individually, but the savings are worth it.

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  5. I AM an environmental Scientist and Geologist. The Global Warming thing IS BOGUS. It is only being pushed for political and Grant Money reasons. Not only are we in a COOLING trend, it could be worse than that. According to the ICE core Data, we are a bit PAST DUE for an "Ice age" , or more exactly, "Seasonally unstable period" that we move in and out of every 10,000 years or so. Where the seasons are unpredictable, as in years with no summer or no fall, etc., and about a 20 degree average drop in temperature---(Far greater change than the Global Warming crowd's 2-3 degree change)
    What's worse we can move from a "Stable period" , into an "Unstable period" in as little as THREE years when it kicks in.--The last unstable period ended 11,000 years ago--which interestingly, corresponds with the development of Agriculture---only possible with predictable seasons.

    How do we know this? It seems that every year a new, thin layer of ice and dust is added to the ice on the poles.--And can be read, with the cores, like the rings on a tree. By comparing Ice/Dust ratios to known Years, we can CALIBRATE it to see the overall weather history as fay back as nearly 300,000 years. it is a very reliable method.
    But not only did the Ice Core Scientists use the Ice/Dust Ratio, they also used THREE different oxygen isotopes to make other weather graphs---ALL of them matched each other AND the Ice/Dust weather charts---So we have very good correlations and evidence that it is GLOBAL COOLING we must prepare for rather than "Global Warming"--which is a very "shaky" evidence base at best, further corrupted by politics.

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  6. Good info Chris. I just want to chime in about reversing the ceiling fan. As a builder for most of five decades I was involved as early as the late 1960s in finding efficient ways to keep warm and cool. One of the things I learned over years is a lot o people don't understand the proper use of ceiling fans. So here's the deal. Hot air rises and cold air drops. In the summer you want to lift the cold air keeping it in up off the floor and in the more central air space in the room, Fan blows up. In the winter the warm air rises to the ceiling, fan blows down. Now I'm an old guy who has been married for many years. My wife allows me to think I control what happens in my home. But she makes it very clear that the fan up there won't be blowing down on her warm %#$$ in the winter when she's trying to keep warm. I threw that in for all my fellow married survivors. That said, it still works like I explained.

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  7. Actually burning wood is very good fro the environment. If dead trees are allowed to fall in the forest they begin to produce methane gas as they decompose. Methane gas is 20 to 23% MORE detrimental to the atmosphere then carbon dioxide, the result of burning that same tree. The carbon dioxide is also food for other plants as they complete their photosynthesis.
    Been burning wood for 46 years as the main source of heating a 2200 sq ft home. Just continue to upgrade my fireplace inserts so the particulate matter resulting from the burning is minimal. Biggest thing one can do for clean burning is be sure your wood is cured (dried versus green) and is not wet.

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  8. P L CHRISTENSON says:

    We live in a house built of baked adobe block. Inside the walls have drywall glued over the adobe. For adobe to be GOOD insulation it must be 18" think. This house falls far short of that.
    To insulate we plan to put up furring inside then, using Liquid Nails apply some spacers to the existing wall, put in sheets of 3/4 in. thick foam insulation & cover with new drywall. We will lose about 4" of floor space along each wall we insulate. The 15 ft. wall in our bedroom that must be insulated will cost about $100.
    While this is the only way we can add insulation it can also be used with in other types of construction.

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  9. Great Grey says:

    The problem with wood is that it can be burned up faster than it is regrown. Just try and heat New York City with only wood.

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    • Enid Albat says:

      And if you live in a valley with multiple houses burning wood close together you can produce your own smog. Fortunately I currently live on a hill, by myself and have a fair amount of wood available. I think it is the most comfortable form of heat. It is kind of hard on the water pipes if you want to leave for say 3 days to a week though....
      We all know we don't want to put antifreeze into our septic tank!

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  10. Great tips on energy efficiency and saving on your heating bill, especially with winter fast approaching. Make sure that your home is well insulated and that you are not letting any heat out and cold air in.

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  11. You have some great tips for conserving energy on heating. I hadn't thought that passive solar heating was really effective, but I should try it out! We definitely still get plenty of sunshine in the winter, so I'll try it this year. Thanks for the tips.

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