Save on Heating & Cooling Your Home

Heating & Cooling Tips to Save Money Around the Home

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This Heating & Cooling Tips Super Page contains a growing list of money saving ideas from our readers.

Heating & cooling tips on this page include: Finding Free Firewood; Insulating Door Mail Slots; Shutting Heat Vents in the Cellar, Using Blankets and Lowering the Thermostat, Using a Window Air Conditioner with Ceiling Fans; and Caulking around Doors & Windows.

Heating & Cooling Tip #1 – Finding Free Firewood

Split wood stacked on a wood pile.Cord wood for free! I love those words. This spring, a neighbor had a large tree die in his front yard. He called in a landscaping company to cut it down for him. When I saw all the wood in his yard my thoughts turned to the winter and our wood-burning stove. I went and asked if the owner wanted the wood. He said I could take what I wanted. The landscaping company was more than happy to deliver it to my front yard rather than pay the disposal fee at the local dump. It took some work on my part to get it all the size I wanted, but I saved hundreds of dollars. Always be on the lookout for free stuff.   Rick Schell – Boise, ID

Heating & Cooling Tip #2 – Insulated Door Mail Slots

An oak door with a brass mail slot on it.The bitter cold weather last year had people scurrying about to make their homes airtight. This is especially critical with the cost of heating oil increasing. Last November, I discovered a leak in my house. As I was doing some work by my front door, I noticed a large amount of cold air coming in through the mail slot! I had never noticed it before. So I made a temporary cover out of foil and painters tape. I hinged it so I could raise it out of the way when it was time for the mail to be delivered, and then lowered it down again afterward. It saves a little bit of money on the heating of my home but is well worth it.   Ann Nieser – Pittsburgh, PA

Heating & Cooling Tip #3 Shutting Cellar Vents

To save on utilities during the winter, I lower my thermostat two degrees at night. One day when I was working in my basement on a project, I noticed that I had 3 heat registers in the overhead ducts designed to heat the basement. Since my excursions to the basement are usually to do laundry, I shut off two of the heater vents. Now, most of the heat goes into the upper part of the house. With a heavy sweater or sweatshirt, I can work in the basement and be comfortable. It’s the little things that add up when heating your home.   Ann Nieser – Pittsburgh, PA

Heating & Cooling Tip #4 – Bundle-Up & Lower the Thermostat

With the cost of oil rising, my husband and I have been looking for ways to keep the cost of heating our house down. The biggest savings we found was keeping our thermostat set at 62 degrees last winter. To stay comfortable we each wore a sweater around the house. We also kept blankets on the backs of our living room furniture for anyone to use if they felt chilly. (Incidentally, we have a 1950’s ranch house with baseboard hot water heating, so 62 degrees feels the same as 66 degrees in a multi-level house heated by forced hot air). We were able to save over $1,000 compared to previous years! In our view, it was well worth bundling up this winter.   Laurie Smith – Warren, NJ

Heating & Cooling Tip #5 – Window Air Conditioners & Ceiling Fans

I am retired now and every year my utility bills seem to get worse and worse. This is a very simple but effective way that I save money: I invested in four ceiling fans, (including a professional electricians’ installation) the entire package cost me $650. Next, I bought a 10,000 BTU air conditioner window unit and installed it in the largest room of my house (great room). I set the unit at 70 degrees all summer long and it never turns off. I also keep the fans on constantly in the summer. The indoor temperature is always very pleasant and the fans circulate the cool air throughout the house (3000sq. ft.). I have also purchased a programmable timer for the heat pump in winter and I turn the fans to air flow pointing up to re-circulate the heat in the rooms. This may seem overly simple, but my electric bill went from an average of $235.00 in 2005 to $98.00 year round today. The original outlay of money for the fans and electrician was recovered in the first summer’s bill three years ago. Also, the central air never runs in the summer and there are almost no maintenance issues. Consumer Reports is a great place to choose the best and cheapest unit and Sears almost gives window units away before winter.
T. Tidwell – Louisville, KY

Heating & Cooling Tip #6 – Caulk, Blankets & Lowering Thermostats

Your book and website have helped my family so much during this past year, I had to let you know. There have been major ongoing health issues  for me (surgery, pneumonia, hearing loss and ongoing tendon issues in both feet). I have missed a total of five months of work. As of today, I am still on work disability, but I only have one month of family leave left. My job could be in jeopardy, but because we only owe on our house, I am able to sleep at night. Yes, money is tight, but it is do-able. We took your advice in your newsletter to do some caulking, get out more blankets so we could keep our heat between 62 and 65 degrees. With all your other tips, I do believe we will be okay even if I do lose my job.   Donna – Dowagiac, MI

If you want more ideas on how to save money on utilities, read this blog

Heating and cooling tips with a picture of a fireplace and a fan.

If you would like more ideas for frugal living, consider our first book, America’s Cheapest Family Gets You Right on the Money.

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