Household Budget Under Attack? Frugal Heating And Air Conditioning Tips To Help Slash Utility Bills & Ease The Strain

As a family, the cost of heating and cooling your home is likely to be a major expense for your household. In fact, according to information provided by the United States Department of Energy, as much as 48% of the energy used in the average American home is used for heating and cooling. Adding to this issue is the recent passage of legislation designed to drastically reduce the usage of coal in the production of electrical power in many areas of the country, which is expected to further increase the cost homeowners pay per kilowatthour (kWh) of electricity used. If your family's household budget is under attack from rising energy costs, the following tips will help you reduce the amount of heating and air conditioning your home requires to stay comfortable so you can keep your utility bills under control. 

Explore low cost home improvements to make heating and cooling more economical

Making small changes around your home is a great way to help prevent the loss of expensive heated and cooled air without incurring huge renovation bills. In addition, there are also some simple things you can do to keep strong sunlight, wind and other outside influences from causing interior temperatures to fluctuate, making your HVAC system work harder and use more energy. Some ideas to consider include: 

  • adding an insulated backing to existing draperies or blinds to help seal out cold air in the winter and block heat from direct sunshine in the summer
  • creating an airlock effect where you enter and exit the home, such as enclosing a porch to minimize the loss of heated or cooled air each time the door opens or closes 
  • making good use of vegetation, such as planting and maintaining trees, shrubbery and tall plants capable of providing a windbreak effect for the home during winter and helping to shade the home from excessive sunshine during the summer
  • adding thermal mass to the home, such as clay tile flooring in a sun room to collect and store heat from the winter sun during the day and then release it slowly into the room overnight 
  • using draperies and window coverings proactively to prevent direct sunshine from heating floor tiles, bricks or other materials inside the home during the summer that could cause the air conditioning system to work harder and use more energy to maintain interior temperatures

Making basic changes in habits to lower heating and cooling costs

Saving money on heating and cooling costs can also add up just by making basic changes in your family's daily routines. For instance, running heat producing appliances to augment heating systems during the winter and finding ways to limit their impact on cooling systems during the summer. Some examples are: 

  • cooking in the oven during winter hours when the family enjoys a warmer home, such as early evenings or during the day
  • using counter top ovens or slow cookers, instead of the larger oven during the summer to reduce the amount of heat produced
  • cooking outside on the grill or enjoying cold meals such as sandwiches and salads to eliminate the effect of heat produced by indoor cooking on the air conditioning system
  • running the clothes dryer during waking hours during winter months and opting to instead use the clothesline or a clothes drying rack during the summer months
  • running the dishwasher overnight during the summer and opting for the air dry setting, instead of heated drying cycles 
  • using power strips or unplugging devices, appliances and technology that create heat when not actually in use, such as chargers for cell phones and gadgets, computers, tablets, handheld reading devices and instant-on televisions 

Keeping heating and cooling systems clean and in good repair

One of the best ways to save money on heating and cooling bills is to keep your HVAC system clean and in good repair. Dirty filters, and accumulated dust and dirt on fans and other components can cause your system to work harder to produce heated or cooled air, raising the cost of your utility bill. For best results, change your HVAC filters according to the manufacturer's directions and have your entire heating and cooling system professionally cleaned and checked at the start of each heating and cooling season. 

About Me

Learning About Business Success

Hello, I am Jen. When I was in college, I used all of my electives to study the world of business. I wanted to learn how small companies grew into big corporations in just a few short years. I also wanted to learn about the factors that caused a business to fail in the same amount of time. I took the time to learn about the details to avoid thinking that these situations were caused by luck alone. I will use this site to discuss every aspect of the business world from negotiating contractors to hiring employees. Thank you for visiting.