One of the biggest surprises when I bought my house 6 years ago was how much it cost me to heat it each month. Since it was small, one-story house, I wasn’t expecting the heating bill to be much higher than the townhouse we had been renting. However, my heating bills were actually in excess of $200 each month.
Since this is Wisconsin, we are normally running our furnace from October through at least April and, because of that, I realized we had to figure out some way of reducing our heating cost. Fortunately, thanks to three easy steps, I was able to bring that monthly cost down by about $50 on average.
The first thing I did was remove myself from the gas company’s budget plan. At first, the budget plan, which gave us a fixed $175/month bill, seemed like a good idea. But, since our usage was always considerably higher than that, we would usually end up with a large balance that never seemed to decrease.
Today, I don’t bother with the budget plan. While there obviously some risks with doing this, it has allowed me to be a bit more aware of when and how we are using our furnace, something that ultimately ended up leading to the other two steps.
The second thing I did was put in a new thermostat. The thermostat that was in our house when we moved in was an older mercury-filled thermostat. Not only did we discover it was inaccurate, we had to remember to turn it down at night and when we were at work.
Today, we have a digital thermostat that is much more accurate than the old thermostat was (something we monitor with a wall thermometer). In addition, we are able to pre-program it so it automatically turns the heat down when we’re not at home and when we are in bed. That, alone, saved us probably about $30-$40.
The last thing I did was make more of an effort to keep the heat from escaping my house. I was already taking some steps, such as covering most of our windows (we still leave the kitchen window uncovered in case we burn something and need to air out the room). But, after some investigation, we found we could keep more heat in by replacing our screen door, putting a draft guard in front of our back door and caulking around our foundation. They were simple steps that saved us another $5-$10 each month.
As a result of these changes, our average heating bill is now around $150, considerably less than what it was before and even less than what we were paying under the budget plan. While I still would like to find ways to reduce it a bit more, it’s definitely much easier to fit in our budget.