Six Ways to Stay Warm and Reduce the Heating Bill
Last month our heating bill shot up from around $60 to more than $120 and my husband was not pleased. After receiving that bill we had a moratorium on using the heater. After two weeks of enduring chilly nights we gave up and started using the heater again. Actually there are many things we can do to save money on our heating bill and still stay warm. Here are some of the things I learned.
1. Make sure the heater is turned off when noone is in the house - We suspect that our increased bill is due to a few careless days when we forgot to turn off the heater and went to work. One of our friends did the same thing and now she has a note on the back of the door that says, "Is the heater turned off?" I think that is a good way to remind yourself to conserve energy.
2. Wear more clothing and wrap up in blankets - Puffy down jackets, fuzzy slippers, and blankets are all great weapons against the winter chill. We got some throw blankets for $10 and my husband said that little purchase has enabled him to play in the living room without feeling cold.
3. Utilize hot water - When I lived in China we used rubber hot water bottles to heat up the bed. These contraptions are quite safe as long as you don't intentionally pull out the plug. The energy used to heat up a bottle of water is much less than the energy required to run the heater on all night. Afterall, sometimes we turn on the heater at night just because it is hard to fall asleep in the cold.
4. Let the sun in - When the weather is not foul it is possible to warm up the house with the energy of the sun. All that has to be done is to lift the blinds and let the sun in. It does cool down later in the night, but depending on your home's insulation it is possible to keep the heat for a while.
5. Consider biomass fuels - We actually have a wood burning fireplace that we did not use because we have never used a fireplace before. I have been doing some reading and apparently it is not very hard. It is also possible to get free firewood from craigslist if we just pick them up. When I was young I heard that people in the countryside used cow patties for heating. I am not sure if that is true, but cow patties are good sources of energy. Linsey also had a great article on biomass heating sources here.
6. Move to a warmer place - When I lived in Hawaii we never had heaters. The winters there are just a bit below 70 degrees. Of course then you run into the problem of cooling in the summers, but that is the tradeoff.
Anyway, some of you readers must think we are wimps for feeling cold in Northern California where there are about 10 days a year with freezing temperatures. What are your tips for staying warm and not be gouged by the energy company?