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Published February 4, 2008 09:46 AM

How to Cut Your Heating Costs

Those of you in Australia and other southerly regions may be spending your weekends sunbathing at the beach, but for most of us in the Northern hemisphere, we've still got months of scarves, earmuffs, and snow shoveling to look forward to. The only way to escape the winter chill is to cozy up in your nice, heated house – but once you get the bill for all that hot air, you start thinking hypothermia doesn't sound so bad, after all.

No need to live in an igloo, though – if you want to save a few bucks on your heating and electric bills, we've got a few fantastic tips, as chosen by RealSimple.

1.    Keep your filters and vents clean. Furnace filters should be replaced every three months, and you'll want to keep a regular eye on your air vents to make sure they're not collecting dust and dirt. This simple step could save you 10% or more on your heating bills each month.

2.    Take a cold(er) shower. Yeah, we know, an icy-cold shower doesn't sound so appealing in the middle of winter – but that's not what we're saying. Just turn down your water heater a few degrees, so it'll be at your ideal shower temperature before you turn on the cold water, and you'll save up to 15% on your next bill.

3.    Shut the door. It goes without saying that you want to keep the front door shut when you've got the heat cranked up – but whenever a room in your house is empty, make sure you shut the doors so the heat stays where you are.

4.    Turn on the fan. It might seem absurd to turn on a fan when you're already cold, but when you switch on a ceiling fan's reverse cycle, it will actually push the hot air back down to where you are, so you can dial the thermostat back down a bit.


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