How to turn down the heat on your utility bills this winter

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How to turn down the heat on your utility bills this winter

When the temperature drops, the thermostat gets cranked up, which can cause your monthly utility bill to skyrocket. But you don’t have to shell out tons of cash just to stay warm at night.

From quick fixes to home improvement projects, there are many steps you can take to help reduce home heating costs this winter.

1. Turn down the heat

Try keeping your home’s temperature between 66-68 degrees during the day and a maximum of 66 degrees at night. Program your thermostat ahead of time so you don’t have to remember to make those changes. If you’re cold, break out the sweatshirts during the day and the long johns at night.

2. Close off unused rooms

And close the vents in those rooms. Prevent any heat from escaping under the doors by placing rolled up towels or blankets underneath.

3. Insulate your windows

An affordable way to do this is by purchasing a home insulation kit. The extra layer adds a barrier to the winter cold infiltrating into your home. If you want a more permanent solution, consider replacing your windows, or adding thermal-insulated curtains.

4. Regularly replace furnace filters

You should be replacing the filters every three months, especially if you have pets. A dirty or clogged filter will demand more energy and slow down the heating process. Make sure your furnace and hot water heater are also properly ventilated.

5. Insulate hot water pipes

Though this is a DIY job, it’s well worth the effort. Insulating hot water pipes from the water heater to the source is another way to conserve. You may also want to consider replacing your old water heater with a high-efficiency model, which will help you save energy dollars and even make you eligible for a rebate.

6. Have a professional inspect your heating equipment

If you want to completely maximize your furnace output, you may want to consider a professional assessment of your heating equipment. Once you have repaired or replaced any equipment, regularly check to be sure heat is circulating properly. Prevent furniture, draperies and rugs from obstructing registers and heat vents. Keep radiators and registers dust-free.

7. Negotiate a better deal

If you live in an "energy choice" state, you can choose between multiple electricity carriers. This gives you leverage to call up your current provider and negotiate a better deal. Here's how to save thousands on your utility bills using the art of negotiation.

8. Consider alternate forms of heat

If you have electric heat as your primary heating source, you may want to consider switching to something else — like gas or even solar. Electric heat is the most expensive.

Saving on utility bills doesn't just apply to the winter. Here's how to beat big heat wave bills in the summer.

Image: DaniloAndjus