Fall is is a wonderful season, full of rich colors, earthy smells and full flavors.

I don’t quite feel the same way about my energy bill. Because it tends to get a bit chilly in the late fall months, and I don’t want to sport a Snuggie, I’m tempted to turn up the thermostat.

Rather than banning use of the heater and forcing my family to huddle around the television for warmth, I decided to find some frugal solutions to keep my house warm this fall.

1. Pick activities that warm twice. For example, I love cooking in the fall months. Besides the enjoyment of whipping up a new apple cobbler or pie recipe, I find that turning the oven on warms my house for hours. I also like to take showers or baths with the door open so that the steam roams throughout my entire house–I just have to make sure that I have no house guests.

2. Remove obstructions and clutter from heating vents. That act alone will save anywhere from 20 to 50 percent off the bill, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. I always move furniture, toys, and curtains away from the vents so that heat travels freely. My daughter’s Barbie does have some skimpy outfits, but I doubt she needs the heat.

3. Turn down the thermostat just a couple of degrees. Each degree trims about 3 percent from the bill, experts say. I do this especially at nighttime when my family is less likely to notice the difference. If my husband does complain, I just toss another blanket on him or, ahem, find other ways to warm him up. Consider investing in a computerized thermostat which can be programmed to automatically turn the heat down while you are at work or sleeping.

4. Turn on the fan. Say what? A fan isn’t just for keeping cool–it actually circulates warm air throughout the entire house and can reduce costs by as much as 10 percent, experts say.  Just make sure to adjust the fan so it rotates clockwise, blowing warm air down from the ceiling.

5. Bundle up! If my feet are cold, my entire body feels like I’m in the Arctic. Rather than turn up the heater, I make socks and slippers a priority. And you don’t have to settle with boring socks and slippers. Around our house we love crazy patterns and styles. It’s even become a competition to see who can come up with the weirdest footwear.

6. Open up the blinds when the sun is out. Those bright rays naturally heat my house–although the kitty cat might attempt to hog all of the sunlight. I always close the curtains as soon as it becomes dark to keep cold air out and reduce any heat loss, which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency notes boosts heating and energy efficiency by approximately 20 percent.

7. Cover up unused doors and windows. Windows and doors are centers for drafts, which often leads to higher heating bills in the fall. Covering any windows and doors that are not commonly used in the winter with plastic. You can find kits for about $5 at Walmart, but I like to get creative and hang up pretty autumn-themed blankets and sheets.

This has been a guest post by Rose from Yakima, WA
Find out more about the KCL Contributor Network

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12 thoughts on “Harvest Savings: Reduce Heating Costs this Fall”

  1. Marie says:

    I was only trying to help & give suggestions based upon my own experiences of being a single mom for 11 years of what has worked for me. You can set your thermostat to what you want but I still would call my local utilities and inquire about any “Budget Billing” programs they may have.It’s definitely worth looking into.How it works is the utility company averages your usage over the past twelve months and they come up with an average monthly bill.

  2. Basia says:

    Or, get free gas or electricity with ambit energy: http://www.barbaralist.joinambit.com we have sign up for ambit about 6 months ago, it is free to sign up no extra fees just buying your gas from a different provider that offers it at low price or even free. So we took the advantage it of it ans so far it has been great with free electricity and gas.

  3. Marie says:

    Here are a few more great ideas:

    1) Try setting your thermostat to 70-72 degrees year round.
    2) Buy a programmable thermostat if you have central/ heat & air. You can find a good one for about $40 at the home improvement store or sometimes my natural gas company offers these for free! All you need to do is call! I have a “Honeywell “, it received high consumer marks & my hubby was able to install it in about 15 minutes.
    3) Buy insulated curtains. Good ones I’ve found are made by “Eclipse”, you can find these at Walmart for about $10-$12 per panel ( each pack has 1 panel). Added bonuses with these, they also come in kid colors and they are also outside-noise reducing. Comes in handy when your neighbors decide to mow their lawn at 7am on Saturday!
    4) Call your power and natural gas companies & ask them about “budget billing” programs. I know with my power company, the only requirements are that you have to be at your present address for at least a year & you can’t have any outstanding bills. My bill is $108 every month. I believe the requirements for the natural gas company are the same, my bill is $29 a month and we have a natural gas hot water heater and natural gas heat.You can even get budget billing if you rent.
    5) Check your insulation in your attic space, if you only have 2-3 inches you need more! Consider adding cellulose insulation that’s blown in, it has a higher “R” value. The higher “R” value, the better! This goes for any insulation.

    6)Check around windows and doors on the inside & outside for cracks. Fill with caulking.

    • Anonymous says:

      I am guessing you live somewhere cold? In Florida, having your thermostat at 70-72 year round would cost a fortune!

      • Marie says:

        Tennessee actually. That’s where the budget billing comes in handy. Your power company averages your monthly bill for the previous year to get your monthly payment , the same goes for your gas bill. I have electric a/c and natural gas heat. Power is $108 monthly and natural gas $29 monthly.

      • jewelrylara says:

        I agree! I live in Georgia and 70 would be outrageous! I keep the recommended 78 in the summer and 68 in the winter and still have high bills.

  4. RobertaProst says:

    I use the window kits on my windows then hang a piece of fleece then hang my curtains over that. Not only does it keep it a bit warmer in my bedroom it also makes it much more pleasant for sleeping. I also keep my thermostat set at 65 degrees and if we get cold we put on an extra pair of socks and slippers and there are always fleece blankets scattered around my living room in the winter.

  5. Poolside1 says:

    Why are my comments not being posted???? I have tried 3 times, on 2 diffferent blogs and it is frustrating having to re-type them over and over again. Just let me know…

  6. Poolside1 says:

    why are my comments not being posted?

  7. Poolside1 says:

    Yall are right on with this!! Here in Galveston, I have central air/heat. I put in window units (which I hate with a passion) just to help reduce the pressure for the main unit. In the winter, I purchased 3 oiled filled radiatior heaters, one for each large room and that keeps the room warm with out raising the thermostat. My home was built in 1965, so it does have some leaks around the windows. I also put blankets around the windows and shut the storm shutters for extra protection from the cold. My husband sighs went I tell him, “We are going to living in a cave for awhile!” Hey, if it saves $ then so be it!!!!!

  8. Poolside1 says:

    Yall are so right on target!! In Galveston, we have central air/heat, but I still put up the window units (which I hate with a passion) but it reduces the amount of pressure that the main unit needs to combat the heat. Also, I purchased 3 oil filled radiator heaters,
    one for each large room, and as said before, it helps keep the main a/c-heater unit from running hard and causing a large electric bill. I also close all my storm shutters on the northside (cold wind), and place blankets over the window sills to keep the damp air out. My house was built in 1965, so there is plenty of leaks for cold air to come in~!!