Keeping Warm for Less

A dozen simple things you can do to cut down big heating bills

If you feel a shiver each time you open your utility bill, your house may be too cold. More likely, however, you’re paying more than you should to heat it. In either case, you can make changes now that will make your home more comfortable and save you money.

These aren’t big projects like adding attic insulation or replacing your windows—save those for later. They’re easy-to-do and inexpensive techniques. The most complicated will take a weekend afternoon, and many take little time and don’t even require the purchase of materials, only changing a habit or two. Others can be done for as little as $10. We’ll take a look first at the obvious stuff and then at more specialized—but still simple—energy-saving techniques.

1. Lower the Thermostat
2. Install a Programmable Thermostat
3. It’s Closed-Flue Season. Minimize Those Romantic Fires
4. The Spin on Ceiling Fans
5. Move Furniture Away From Vents, Registers and Radiators
6. Stop the Draft, Close the Door
7. Quick-Seal Windows
8. Install a Door Sweep
9. Work the Drapes
10. Change Your Furnace Filter
11. Adjust Your Water Heater
12. Defeat Rapid Cycling

Need more guidance on saving energy? The 36-page “Energy Savers” is available free from the U.S. Department of Energy. It features more than 100 easy and practical energy-saving tips. Get the booklet by calling 800/363-3732, or point your browser to