Save on Heating and stay warm this Winter

Summer has officially been over for weeks and we are starting to feel the cooler weather.  Now is the perfect time to look into how to save on heating so you don’t get hit with major bills.

save on heating costs

In our house we play a little game. It’s called, “let’s see how long we can go without turning the heat on.”  So far the two houses we have owned have been old homes which are drafty and poorly insulated.  Therefore, they aren’t cheap to heat.  It’s always fun to see who will break down first, my husband or I, and demand we are turning the heat on.  Although I’d hate to admit it, it’s probably me that usually breaks down first, especially the older I get.

However, since moving to our new home with a woodstove, we do tend to have a few evening fires before we really need to.  It’s because we love the comfort and smell of those first few fires, and a rainy day, complete with homemade squash soup and crusty bread just feels wrong without the glow of the woodstove.  I like to call these types of fires more of a little splurge than a necessity.

Nonetheless, we keep it to a minimum, and the heat stays off as long as possible.  We do heat primarily with wood, and use a secondary source for backup, mostly during the night because we don’t want to wake up to any frozen pipes after the woodstove burns out!  Last year we had oil, but this Summer we swapped that our for propane.  Propane is substantially cheaper than oil, at least in our neck of the woods.  If you have oil and you are paying insane bills for it, you may want to consider switching as well.  It may vary depending on where you live, but here you often pay less insurance if you have propane instead of oil.  Natural gas is a great option too, though people like us who live in the country can’t get natural gas.

For a low cost heating solution, consider heating primarily with wood if that is an option.


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Cover any drafty windows with plastic treatment.  We have a few drafty windows in our home that we cover with plastic to keep the cold air out.  We also cover our patio doors with plastic as they are a huge source of draftiness.

Use a programmable thermostat.  Set the thermostat a few degrees lower while you sleep.  You likely won’t notice if you have enough blankets on your bed. Or, if you work and are gone all day, set the thermostat lower for while you are gone, and program it so that it heats up an hour before you come home. A few degrees will make a difference in your monthly heating bill.  Don’t have a programmable thermostat? Check this one out.

Shut doors without vents or heaters. If you have bedrooms or other rooms that do not have a vent or heater in it, shut it during the day while not in use.  Open it up an hour before you go to sleep to warm it up.  Why heat a room no one is using?

Clean your furnace filter.  Confession time.  Once in our old home I turned the furnace on to discover it wasn’t really working well. It was older and on it’s last life so I figured we might get the news that it was dying, so naturally I called a technician so he could deliver the bad news to me.  Well, the technician came in, cleaned the filter, and it worked again!  We had forgotten to change the filter. (In our defense we were sleep deprived from babies and toddlers at the time.)  It’s a bad idea to forget to change your filter.  Don’t do it.

Layer your clothes.  If you are wearing a t-shirt around your home, you could afford to keep the thermostat a little lower.  Wear sweaters, socks, and slippers around your house.  Make sure to purchase some quality slippers that keep you warm no matter how cold the floor is!  Sometimes I even like to wear a toque inside, because, let’s be honest, it’s dual purpose.  They can look super cute, AND they keep you warm.

Keep the flue closed. When you’re chimney is not in use be sure to keep the flue closed as heat escapes and the cold air enters your home through it.

Open the stove door.  After you are done cooking or baking, leave the stove door open to let the last of the heat escape into your house.  Of course, this can only be done if you don’t have small kids or animals running around as you don’t want anyone to burn themselves.

Invest in thick blackout curtains.  These curtains are excellent for keeping the cold from the windows from entering your home.  Close them during the night to keep the heat in, and open them during the day to take advantage of the heat from the sun coming in the windows.

Install weatherstripping. Investigate for drafts in your home and use weatherstripping to prevent cold air from entering in.

Use a door draft stopper.  These are long tubes of fabric filled with items such as sand, beans, or rice to place at the bottom of your door to prevent drafts.  You can use something as simple as a rolled up towel or blanket, but check out this ridiculously cute mismatched sock snake draft stopper you can make yourself!

Consider adding more insulation.  If your home is poorly insulated and you can foot the bill, consider re-insulating your home.

Close off part of your house.  This is an option that won’t work for everyone, but if you have a bigger home and don’t need to use it all, consider closing off a portion to keep the heat circulating in a smaller home.  We have friends who do this, and we  did it ourselves last year and it worked well for us.  Of course, you want to make sure some heat is going to the part of your home you’ve closed off or you can have frozen pipes or moisture issues, but you can definitely keep the heat a lot lower if it is being unused.

Use ceiling fans.  Heat rises so if you can use ceiling fans to bring back some of that heat that is going up, it can reduce heating costs.  Be sure to put the fans on reverse.

Use a space heater or a portable oil heater.  We use a heater in the bathroom for when someone is showering because one of the worst things in the world to me is a freezing bathroom after a shower.  We only use it for that purpose so it isn’t on all the time.

Turn your hot water heater temperature down. Lowering the temperature of your hot water heater can make a difference and help you save on heating. Also consider putting a water heater jacket on it, especially if you have an older hot water heater, as the jacket can provide insulation for it, again saving you money.


While heating your home in the winter is unavoidable – especially if you live in a colder climate like I do at this time of year, it doesn’t have to cost more than you can handle.    You can save on heating by using these tips and tricks.  The more you use, the better chance you have to reduce heating costs.  Low cost heating can be a reality for you.

Related: Cut your Budget when there is Nothing left to Cut

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