- Bundle up in the winter to cut back on heating oil usage.freezing boy image by Indigo Fish from Fotolia.com
The price of heating oil has risen to levels many of us couldn't imagine just a few years ago. This hike in rates has sent many people scrambling to find ways to save on their monthly utility bills, especially during the coldest winter months. While paying for heating oil is an unavoidable reality for many people, there are a number of ways to reduce the amount your home uses and save money on the monthly bill.
Lower Your Thermostat
- The simplest way to lower heating bills is to lower the thermostat. It's true that the level some people feel comfortable with is a bit higher than this recommendation, but sacrificing a slight amount of comfort will be well worth it when the next utility bill arrives. Setting the thermostat from 65 to 68 degrees during the winter days will make a noticeable difference in oil usage from the 70 and above that many people are used to. At bedtime, the thermostat should be reduced to 50 to 60 degrees.
Replace Your Air Filters
- The harder a heating unit has to work to reach a desired temperature in the home, the more energy it is going to use. Dirty air filters make the heating unit work much harder than it has to, so regularly checking the filter to see if it needs replacing is an important way to save money and prolong the life of the unit.
Use Good Insulation and Ducts
- Insulation in the walls and under floors or ceilings in your home trap warm air or cool air inside and keep the external air from penetrating the house. When insulation is too thin or improperly installed, or nonexistent, the consequence can be a heating unit that is constantly struggling to warm the home. Adding extra insulation to the home, especially above the top floor in the attic, will trap more heat inside during winter, and make the home far easier to cool during warm weather. Air ducts that carry the forced air from the unit to the vents in the home should also be insulated and thoroughly checked for leaks. Sealing a leaky air-duct system can improve a central heating unit or air conditioner's efficiency by 20 percent.
- The easiest solution to dealing with rising heating oil costs is to put on more clothes. Wear loose, layered clothing at home, including socks and hats, to offset the lowered thermostat temperature. A home that remains 70 degrees throughout the winter is going to use more heating oil than the same house setting the thermostat at 60 or 65. Keeping blankets in the sitting areas where you watch TV can help fight off the chills on particularly cold nights.
Use the Kitchen
- There are a couple of good ways to help with the heating oil usage when working in the kitchen: Either do not use the stove-top exhaust fan, or turn it off immediately after its job is complete. These types of fans can suck out an entire houseful of air in about an hour. The same goes for the exhaust fan in the bathroom. After using the oven to cook a meal, open the oven door partially and allow the heat from inside to escape into the house. This will raise the air temperature in the areas near the kitchen and will have a slight effect on overall heating oil usage.