Turn down the thermostat and turn up your savings
With energy costs continuously rising, the outlook of a heating bill lowering on its own is not so hot. Take matters into your own hands by making a few changes in your home. Not only will you help the environment by reducing your carbon footprint, but you’ll enjoy extra savings throughout the winter!
Perform an “energy audit” of your home.
Check for drafty doors, windows and fireplaces where heat may leak out. Use caulk, weather stripping and plastic to keep the cold out and trap the heat in. Don’t feel up to the job? Hire a professional to find energy inefficiencies for you. Contact your gas/electric provider, some companies conduct energy audits for free!
Turn down the heat.
Install a programmable thermostat to reduce energy costs at night and while you’re away. If you keep your thermostat a few degrees lower at all times you can save up to 10 percent on your heating bill. Use space heaters and electric blankets if you get cold; they use less energy than the furnace.
Replace old appliances.
If you have an old furnace, boiler or water heater, look into replacing it with an energy-efficient version. Look for appliances with the “Energy Star” label; many come with a tax credit. If buying new appliances is out of the question, you can still save money with regular preventative maintenance.
Adjust your water heater.
Turn down the temperature on your hot water heater; it is usually set unnecessarily high. If you have a dishwasher, keep the temperature at 120 degrees, otherwise it can be even lower. Also consider draining ¼ of the water heater tank every three months. This will eliminate sediment that slows down heat transfer, making your appliance more efficient. Sources: Msnbc.com Financialplan.about.com