Paying too much for Heating? Save money through my tips!

Okay, well; most of my readers are college students, so a couple of these don't apply-- this doesn't mean you can't save money through this DIY project. Because most of this will help. What I aim to do here is provide ways to save you money long-term (and a lot of it) through simple maintenance and common sense. Ready?

First, some facts. If heating oil stays around $3.19 a gallon (and who knows how much it could go up by the real cold settles in) and the average home uses 666 gallons (in New England [src: Prov. Journal]) while the average apartment uses 400 gallons (src. Prov. Journal), this means the average home uses nearly $2124 and the average apartment uses $1276 just to stay warm. That's a lot of money just for maybe 4 months; it's between $300 and $550 dollars a month for half the year!

Let's make some changes.

The Save Money -ing DIY -er

Thermostat:

Sounds simple enough; drop your therm
ostat a few degrees. Wear sweatpants around the house and suck it up. A few degrees is about a half gallon of oil at the minimum a day. Doesn't sound like much. Every month that's almost
$45 saved. Still seem pointless? Not to your wallet.


Comforters:

This might seem a little repetitive, but at night when you're idle you'll notice the cold more often; plus the air is often a bit colder.
Go buy a nice comforter and drop the temp in the house even more-- save another 10-15 gallons of oil. That's a few more bucks. Now if you really want to save money, go and hunt through Grandma's attic (or your parents) for some old home-made quilts; they're extremely thick and you won't even have to buy a $30 comforter.

Fireplace:

Does your house or apartment have a fireplace? Well, time to open the flue and take the truck for a ride. If you check out Craigslist and scour the Classifieds of your newspapers, tons of people cut down trees and just want someone to take the wood away. This is gold during the winter. Often you've just got to split the wood; chances are you can either get a cheap axe from a yard sale or someone you know has one. Capitalize on this if you can; try to take as much wood as you can. A little manual labor never hurt anyone.

Water Heater:

What? Why is he talking about water heaters to save money on my home heating? Drop the water temperature for your showers. As great as it is to take a scalding hot shower after battling the elements on your way home from work, this is a huge no-no. It's the place where much of your oil is used, and unnecessarily. Try bringing the thermostat on your heater down to 120 degrees, you'll adjust before you know it.

Pipe Insulation:

Although this seems to be something that would be for a home-owner, this is extremely valuable and plausable for an apartment renter to do as well. It costs maybe $30 to insulate your heating pipes and saves about 15% of the heat that your oil burner makes that is often lost through transferral to your heating system.

Replacement Windows:

Replacement windows are ideal for long-term money savings. Windows that are old; usually past the 10 yr. point, have lost a lot of their durability with the elements, and are due to be replaced. Replacement windows are the cheapest option; you don't have to rip out the entire window frame and they are relatively easy to put in (I've done it a few times before, and it really isn't that bad). These cost about $150 each, but should last another 10 years and cut 10% off your heating bill annually.

Insulation:

Insulation is a wonderful thing. Often, people say "My walls are insulated" and thing that's that. Just like the pipes, there are always things forgotten. Take above and below for example. What the hell is he talking about, you might be thinking. Ceiling and floor. Is below your floor insulated? The ceiling of the room below you. Heat can easily escape through the floor. Hey, dumbass, heat rises, cold sinks; not the other way around. While this is true, A) heat is often generated in heaters running along the floor, which forces it into the floorboards and into the basement (or room below) and B) the floor temperature is still warmer than outside and the ground, so that's heat lost. Inuslation is pretty cheap, check out Home Depot or Lowes to get the grade you want. If it seems a little price-y, the cheapest stuff is better than nothing.



Hopefully you apply some of these tips and this winter you will be able to save some serious money through these do-it-yourself (DIY) ideas!

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