Friday, November 7, 2008

Excited About Our Heating Bill

Our heating bill is really high in the winter. It gets up to $230 in our coldest month. And that is gas only for our water heater, dryer, and heat. That doesn't include electricity, garbage, and sewage which cost us $155 every month in a separate bill. With money being tight, we decided we had to try to lower it.

We didn't have the money to make the home repairs usually suggested for saving money on heat. We couldn't replace our 17 single-pane windows. We couldn't replace our leaky doors. We couldn't install insulation. Even without doing these things, we saw significant savings, as you will soon see.

I've been waiting for the first bill to come since making some changes. I wanted to see if the things we did made any difference and I'm happy to report that we've seen significant savings this first month. Here's how this month compared to the same month last year.

Last year: 29 days included in the bill
This year: 30 days included in the bill

Last year: 51 degree average temperature
This year: 52 degree average temperature

Last year: $130.36
This year: $90.98........a 30% savings!

Considering that this year had an extra day and was only one degree warmer, I think the bills would have been comparable if it wasn't for my savings efforts. I'm excited and expect to see continued savings as we hit the colder months.

Here's what we did:

We have three sets of three large windows in our main rooms. I bought heavier curtains from IKEA to cover them. The ones in the room I'm sitting in right now are even double layered. They look nice too.

We covered some of our draftiest windows with plastic. The window kits you buy at home improvement stores won't stick to our window trim so I come up with the oh-so-tasteful solution of taping clear painter's plastic with blue painter's tape to our trim. You can see it in the chicken mummy photos I posted yesterday. It's beeeuuutiful!

I began washing our laundry in cold water. I still use hot water for towels and bedding.

We lowered our thermostat from 70 to 66-68 during the day and 64 at night. We have to unplug our microwave most of the time because it doesn't like being cold. We began wearing warmer clothes or comfortable layers at home. I taught my kids to wear a tank top or t-shirt under a sweater to stop the cold that comes through the holes between the knit stitches. I showed them how to layer a long sleeve t-shirt under a short-sleeve t-shirt or to layer two t-shirts together. We haven't been cold with these new dressing habits.

I cut my showers to every other day rather than every day. With my new hair care routine (I'll post about that on another day), I find that my hair doesn't get greasy anymore so I no longer need to wash it every day.

I've been trying to encourage the kids to hang their clothes back up to wear again if they aren't obviously dirty or smelly. This is something that I've done for many years so I just need to get the rest of the family on board.

And that's it. Those simple steps saved us $40 in the first month.

Ironically, a Penguin Windows commercial JUST aired and they promised a 40% reduction in your heating bill. My solutions were MUCH cheaper to implement and saved 30%. I think my rate of return is better.

I'm going to finish covering the rest of our single-pane windows with plastic. I'm motivated to do them now.

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Mommy to One said...

You go, girl! That's awesome! I love your money-stretching tips, by the way.

The Four Week Vegan said...

Terrific! We don't have much in the way of heating bills - maybe $75 is the highest we see in a month here in So Cal, but it goes to show you that the little things really add up. Keep those great tips coming!

Bloggers said...

Thank you so much for the tips, I am getting ready to hang some curtains right now!!!!