7 Ways to Lower Your Heating Bill

Old Man Winter is getting his game on. To save money on your heating bill, get yours on, too.

Money Sense
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If you currently live in a Ryan Home, you know all about building an energy-efficient home (lucky you). But even the smartest homes can benefit from the following energy-saving tips.

1) Use a programmable thermostat.

One of the best ways to save money is investing in a programmable thermostat—or properly using the one you already own. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, for every eight hours you turn the thermostat down, you can save about five to 15 percent a year on your heating bill. So, turn down the thermostat down 10 degrees when you go to work, and again when you go to bed at night. Want to learn more? The Home Depot offers a basic tutorial on setting your thermostat.

2) Close your fireplace flue.

Keeping it open is like having a big hole in your roof. Seems basic, but plenty of people forget to close the flue after a night by the fire. If you really want to save money, be mindful of how often you use the fireplace. Truth be told, a fire sucks warm air out of a room.

3) Check for drafts.

An old trick for seeing if unwanted air is coming into your home: Light a candle or incense stick and hold it by windows and doors. If your old windows are drafty, consider installing storm windows. But if that's cost prohibitive, install plastic-wrap window insulation on some of the worst offending windows. Door sweeps and weather stripping could be helpful, too.

4) Beef up the insulation.

Unless you have a home that was constructed by an energy efficient builder, you probably could use more insulation. The Department of Energy offers tips on ways to better insulate your house, what types of insulation to use, and where to install it.

However, if you're not the DIY type, you'll want to hire an experienced professional. To find a contractor in your area, visit the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association's website.

5) Make the most of airflow.

Move furniture and rugs away from heating vents (blocking them is a no-no). While you're at it, shut the doors of rooms you don't use. Keep heat where you need it.

6) Bundle yourself and your windows.

Not to be your Grandma, but put on a sweater and some warm socks instead of hiking up the thermostat. And, if you have curtains, close them at night to keep cold air out. When the sun comes in, open them up.

7) Don't forget about your filters.

A dirty filter can cost you in heating costs. If you have an electric or oil heater, have it checked once a year. If you have a gas heater, check it every other year.