Posted by: Bill & Gayle McCord | February 22, 2010

Easy ways to cut costs on winter bills

One of the only highlights of a cold winter is the Olympics.

This winter brings more than the Olympics.  As February drags on, you might want to consider the following techniques to cut down on your costs.

Easy ways to lower your winter bills

-Set thermostats at about 70 degrees during the winter and at approximately 58 degrees when away from the house for more than a few hours.  While sleeping, add an extra blanket for warmth instead of turning up the heat.  Bear in mind that warmer temperatures are recommended for homes with ill or elderly persons or infants.

Tip: Our daughter lives in Scotland, and heating their flat is ridiculously expensive.  They use sleep sacks for their children and extra blankets for themselves instead of using heat at night.

–       Turn down thermostats automatically without sacrificing comfort by installing an automatic setback or programmable thermostat.  You can cut annual heating bills by as much as 10 percent per year by turning your thermostat back 10 percent to 15 percent for eight hours per day.

–       Change or clean heating equipment filters once a month during the heating season.  Use the receipt of your energy bill as a reminder.

–       Warm air rises, so use registers to direct warm airflow across the floor.

–       Close vents and doors in unused rooms and close dampers on unused fireplaces.

–       Set water heater temperatures at 120 degrees.  A family of four, each showering for five minutes a day, uses 700 gallons of water each week.  By lowering the thermostat on the water heater to 120 degrees, families can cut water heating bills without sacrificing comfort.

–       Insulate electric water heaters with insulation “blankets”, in accordance with the manufacturer’s guidelines.  Blankets are not recommended for gas water heaters and turning down the unit’s thermostat to 120 degrees can help you save money, since water-heating is a typical family’s third-largest energy expense, accounting for about 14% of utility bills.

–       On sunny days, open draperies and blinds to let the sun’s warmth in.  Close them at night to insulate against cold air outside.

You may not be able to implement all these tips, but try out one or two- it’s always great to save money!



  1. We tried these in our last place, particularly the programmable thermostat and water heater settings/insulation, and saved quite a bit. Great suggestions.

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