Five Ways to Save Money on Your Heating Bill

By Rickie Harvey
As published on westroxburypatch.com
November 2011

With the temperature falling (albeit slowly) and the winter months soon also to descend upon us, we like to figure out ways to conserve on our heating bill as much as possible.

Here are five things we can do that will save money — and energy.

Lower Your Heat. Turn your thermostat down at night and when you are out of your home. For each degree you lower your thermostat, you will save 3 percent on your monthly heating bill. According to the US Department of Energy, you can save an additional 10 percent a year by adjusting your thermostat by 10 to 15 percent for eight hours at night. This is easiest to do with a programmable or automatic “setback” thermostat (ranging in price from $40 to $100).

Storms. Make sure your storm windows and storm doors are in place and working properly. If the storm windows fit well and stop cold air from seeping into the house, these are more cost effective than replacing your windows. Invest in good storms if you don’t already have them.

Other Air Sealing. The cold winter air can penetrate your house at many points, and taking measures to stop the flow will save you money on your heating bill. Weather stripping at windows and doors reduces air infiltration around the edges of the openings. Caulk at the sill of the house, and insulate and seal ductwork so that heat is not lost as it is distributed through the house.

Insulation. Add insulation to areas that separate non-living spaces from living spaces (like basements and attics). The insulation will help keep warm air in — and cold air out — of your living spaces.

Replace Your Burner or Furnace.  If your oil burner or furnace is 10-years-old or older, you can see dramatic reductions in your heating bills by investing in a new, high-efficiency unit. While this is expensive up front, the savings in your heating bills will be immediate, and the equipment can pay for itself within two to three years — and keeps on paying in energy savings.

And if you sign up for a free energy assessment  through the Renew Boston program by December 31, you will receive help with numbers 1, 3, and 4 by getting a programmable thermostat, air sealing, and insulation up to $3500 at no cost to you. For more information about this unique Boston initiative as well as additional tips on how to save money and save energy, visit WestRoxburySavesEnergy.org.