Winter is already in full swing, but it is not too late to take steps to minimize your heating expenses.  If you’re like most families your heating bill is one of the biggest expenses you have, so trimming those costs a little here and there can go a long way.  And who wouldn’t like to have a few extra bucks every month?

Here are some simple tips for saving money on your heating bill that you can implement right away:

Lower your thermostat

I know it sounds like common sense but I think it’s important to mention that you should lower your thermostat because many people simply don’t think of it.  My wife and I are eternally battling over the temperature setting in our home.  She likes to keep the house warm and toasty while I’m usually content to suck it up and throw on a sweater.  The rule of thumb is that you will save about 3% on your heating bill for every degree that you set back on your thermostat, so the savings can add up pretty quickly.

Keep heating vents clear

If you have rugs, drapes, or furniture blocking your heating vents then your furnace will have to work a lot harder to maintain a comfortable temperature in your home.  Sure, the 6 inches behind your couch will be nice and toasty, but it’s not a very cozy place to relax in after a long day of work.

Turn down the water heater

Lowering the temperature setting on your water heater just a few degrees can provide substantial savings and you’ll barely notice the difference.  In our home, I kept lowering it again and again until my wife finally complained.  That’s when I knew I hit the limit of how far I could go without sacrificing a comfortable shower.

Install a programmable thermostat

If you’re the kind of person who forgets to turn down the temperature at night and before work, try installing a programmable thermostat that you can set once and forget.  They’re surprisingly easy to install and they can save you a bundle by making sure you aren’t heating an empty home.

Insulate and weatherize

If you live in an older home like mine you are probably losing a lot of heat through poor insulation.  The good news is that there are quite a few inexpensive do it yourself projects that can dramatically cut your heating bill.  You’d be surprised at how big a difference you can make with just a few tubes of caulk some weather-stripping.   Concentrate on sealing up any cracks and gaps around windows, doors, and anywhere else in which cold air can get in.  If your windows are very old, you can pick up an insulating kit in which you cover the entire window with a sheet of clear plastic and then use a hair dryer to smooth out the wrinkles.  It might sound a little crazy, but it works!

With winter far from over, you still have plenty of time to start practising these simple tips for lowering your heating bill.  And the sooner you start to cut your heating bill, the more you’ll save.