Tuesday, December 23, 2008

How to Save Money on your Gas Bill

Tis the season to be COLD! With temperatures outside in a downward spiral, you'll be finding yourself cranking up the heat inside. The colder it is, the more heat you use, and more money out of your pocket and just in time for the holiday season. Wonderful, isn't it? ;-)

There are many ways to help cut your gas bill in half (yes, 50%!) and these are tricks that I have recently learned and proved to be worth it with my own gas bill.


1) Plastic Window Insulation Kits-These kits can range anywhere from $5 to $20 depending on how many windows the kit includes. I was able to pick up (2) $5 kits that included 6 pre-taped window coverings per kit. You can save around $20 per window in a heating season! You can buy the kits at your local hardware store, Walmart, Kmart, Target, and other similar retail stores. You can also pick up these kits on Ebay.com and have it shipped right to your doorstep.

2) Upgrade Your Windows-While this might not be possible to do this winter, it is possible to do next winter. New QUALITY windows can save you a bundle each and every year, all year round, and are worth every single (expensive) penny. Start saving up now and by early Fall, you'll be ready to upgrade those old windows!

3) Set Thermostat at 65 Degrees-Yes, 65 degrees is a little on the chilly side, but it's live-able! Wear some warm clothes (sweatpants, pullover, socks, slippers, etc) and you'll be more than fine all winter long. Keep it at 65 during the day and lower the temp to 63 right before you go to bed. If you don't have a programmable thermostat, then...

4) Purchase a New Programmable Thermostat-A new programmable thermostat will cost anywhere from $20 to $50 on average. You'll be able to program every day and night of the week in less than 2 minutes and you'll be saving yourself more money than you can even imagine!!

5) Turn Down Your Water Heater-Ever take a close look at your water heater? If not, then it's time to go take a peek. There (should be) a red knob that says "Hot" "Cold" and "Vacation" on it. Odds are, it is set exactly half way between Hot & Cold. Turn the knob 25% more towards the "Cold" side and watch your gas bill start to get lower! Always do a test-run on any faucet in the house to make sure that you're still getting hot water, just not burning-hot water.

6) Water Heater "Blanket"-Ever see one of these things? It's like a big white "winter jacket" for your water heater. They help insulate your water heater by keeping the warm water, well..warm! You can purchase a Water Heater Blanket for around $20 at Home Depot or any similar store.

7) Replace the Furnace Filter(s)-Switching out your old furnance filter for a new one (around $5/each) will save your furnance from working overtime with a dirty & clogged air filter.

8) Draft Guards for Doors-Surprisngly, this is one of the cheapest fixes you could do to a home, and will save you a ton of money! If you have a door that has a leak (big or small), now is the time to fix it. You can purchase draft guards for doors for around $10 on average. Stop your heat, and money, from leaking out of your home!

9) Furnance Tune Up-Getting your furnance a tune-up (especially if it's an older model) will make sure your furnance runs top notch all winter long and without it having to strain to keep working!

10) Dishwashers-Alot of heat can be used by your dishwasher. From heating up gallons of hot water per load, to all of that hot steam to dry the dishes ("Oh, my water heater did all of that?" Yes, it did!) For the winter, you can opt for handwashing your dishes (soak in luke-warm water, wash in soaking water, then rinse off) rather than using your dishwasher. I know, easier said than done. But one look at your next gas bill that DOESN'T have 1 full month of dishwasher usage, and you'll be thanking me for all the hard-earned money you saved (and maybe even for the new pair of shoes that you bought with that saved money..send pics! ;-) )

11) Wash Clothes in Cold Water Only-"..but hot water kills germs!" Well, my dear, so does soap! Start washing your clothes in cold water ONLY and you'll be saving yourself a very nice chunk of change on your gas bill! And the best part is, you won't be able to tell the difference!

12) Low Flow Showerheads-Besides just saving money on the amount of water you use during your shower, you can also be saving yourself money on how much hot water you actually use at the same time! Installing a Low Flow Showerhead is VERY cheap and VERY easy to do. All you need is a wrench and teflon tape from your local hardware store to install a new showerhead. Look for showerheads that have 2.5 gpm or lower.

So there you have it, ladies & gents. 12 wonderful tips and tricks that will save you 50% on your monthly gas bill! Start putting them to good use and watch the savings pile up!

Got a tip on how you save money on your gas bill? Leave it in a comment below for all of us to see! :-)

(aka Bargain Hunter)