Top 5 Tips for Lowering Your Heating Bill

Keep Jack Frost at bay, and let winter go a little easier on your wallet.

Jan 26, 2014 at 11:15AM

The polar vortex finally passed, but winter is far from over. While Jack Frost may be fun for snow angels and cups of cocoa, his presence is less than welcome when it comes to paying the monthly heating bill. Here are NerdWallet's top five things you should know so you can enjoy all winter has to offer without sweating your heating bill. 

1. You can save money on your heating bill without ever spending a dime
There are plenty of ways you can cut down on your heating bill without shelling out big bucks -- for example, clearing the space around heating vents so they can heat the whole room, or wearing a sweater and warm slippers around the house to keep you comfortable, while letting you run the heat less. Minimizing the use of exhaust fans in your kitchen and bathroom will also help warm air stay put instead of getting sucked outside.

2. The thermostat is your friend
Lowering your thermostat temperature by 3 degrees can help you save almost 10% on your heating bill. Based on estimates from the Energy Information Administration, that can add up to more than $100 in savings over the course of the winter. Try setting the temperature lower when you're out of the house during the day, or at night when you're snugly tucked into bed. You can also adjust the "swing" setting, which determines how far away the temperature in the room is allowed to be relative to your set temperature. A bigger swing means less switching on and off, which allows your heater to run more efficiently.

3. A safe heater will save you money
Making sure your heater's maintenance is up to date (in most cases, a checkup each year is a good bet) is a great way to ensure you're not wasting energy. Regular cleaning and upkeep are critical to keep your heater performing in tip-top shape. Replacing air filters to allow easy flow is another great place to start. In both cases, a few minutes of effort can save you lots of cash on a yearly basis.

4. Drafts are the enemy
There are many places in your home for cold to get in and heat to leak out. By addressing these issues, you can save a boatload on heating. For example, adding a special layer of plastic film to your windows (available at most hardware stores) creates an extra layer of insulation and can save you almost 15% on your heating costs. Knock out pesky drafts and leaks by ensuring your windows are properly caulked, your doors have a solid weather seal, and your chimney's flue is closed. You can even get a "chimney balloon" to help seal in heat.

5. Put heat where you need it
Close heating vents in rooms where you don't regularly go -- it will help drive heat to rooms where you spend your time. If you tend to spend most of your time in just a couple of rooms, consider using a space heater instead of running a heating system for the whole home. If you regularly use a fireplace, you can use aluminum foil to create a dish to help radiate more heat into your living room instead of being lost out the chimney.

Interested in learning more? Listen to Alex talk about lowering your heating bill on the Tavis Smiley Show.


Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

4 in 5 Americans Are Ignoring Buffett's Warning

Don't be one of them.

Jun 12, 2015 at 5:01PM

Admitting fear is difficult.

So you can imagine how shocked I was to find out Warren Buffett recently told a select number of investors about the cutting-edge technology that's keeping him awake at night.

This past May, The Motley Fool sent 8 of its best stock analysts to Omaha, Nebraska to attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting. CEO Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger fielded questions for nearly 6 hours.
The catch was: Attendees weren't allowed to record any of it. No audio. No video. 

Our team of analysts wrote down every single word Buffett and Munger uttered. Over 16,000 words. But only two words stood out to me as I read the detailed transcript of the event: "Real threat."

That's how Buffett responded when asked about this emerging market that is already expected to be worth more than $2 trillion in the U.S. alone. Google has already put some of its best engineers behind the technology powering this trend. 

The amazing thing is, while Buffett may be nervous, the rest of us can invest in this new industry BEFORE the old money realizes what hit them.

KPMG advises we're "on the cusp of revolutionary change" coming much "sooner than you think."

Even one legendary MIT professor had to recant his position that the technology was "beyond the capability of computer science." (He recently confessed to The Wall Street Journal that he's now a believer and amazed "how quickly this technology caught on.")

Yet according to one J.D. Power and Associates survey, only 1 in 5 Americans are even interested in this technology, much less ready to invest in it. Needless to say, you haven't missed your window of opportunity. 

Think about how many amazing technologies you've watched soar to new heights while you kick yourself thinking, "I knew about that technology before everyone was talking about it, but I just sat on my hands." 

Don't let that happen again. This time, it should be your family telling you, "I can't believe you knew about and invested in that technology so early on."

That's why I hope you take just a few minutes to access the exclusive research our team of analysts has put together on this industry and the one stock positioned to capitalize on this major shift.

Click here to learn about this incredible technology before Buffett stops being scared and starts buying!

David Hanson owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and American Express. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Coca-Cola.We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

©1995-2014 The Motley Fool. All rights reserved. | Privacy/Legal Information