saving money

Back-to-School Savings on Heating and Cooling

back to schoolThe start of the school year brings extra expenses for most households. The cost of school supplies, new shoes, and school uniforms quickly adds up, adding strain to the family budget. It is no wonder the back-to-school season leaves many parents looking for new ways to save money.

Thankfully, there is one easy way you can save money on school-year heating and cooling costs, and it won’t even make you uncomfortable. What is this simple money-saving tip? Simply adjust the setting of your thermostat.

How to Adjust Your Thermostat to Save Money on Your Utility Bill

With the kids heading back to school, your home is probably empty for long periods during the day. If you do not adjust your thermostat, you are paying to heat and cool an empty home. However, adjusting your thermostat up or down depending on the season, will bring significant savings. In fact, this small adjustment saves the average American family up to $180 dollars per year.

When Using Your Air Conditioner

When school first starts, the outdoor temperatures are still relatively warm. Because of these high temperatures, most families are still running their air conditioner. However, there is no need to maintain an indoor temperature of 72 degrees when there is no one home to enjoy the comfort. Keeping your thermostat set at a peak comfort temperature is like flushing money down the toilet.

Instead, raise your thermostat setting a few degrees before you leave for the school drop-off line. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) suggests increasing your setting by seven degrees. According to the website, “the smaller the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your overall cooling bill will be.”

By making this small adjustment, your AC system will run less, saving energy and money. You won’t even feel uncomfortable. Just remember to adjust your thermostat when you get home in the evening.

When You Need to Heat Your Home.

With Fall almost here, we won’t be needing our air conditioners much longer. For the majority of the school year, our homes need to be heated to maintain a comfortable temperature.

You can still save money on your heating bills with this same trick. However, when heating your home, the EPA suggests LOWERING the thermostat setting. An adjustment of 8 degrees should be enough to see significant energy savings.

Adjustable Thermostats Offer Convenience and Savings

Having to manually adjust our thermostat every day before you leave for work/school is difficult to remember. This is especially true on hectic mornings. There is already so much to remember, packing lunches,checking homework, signing permission slips.

Thankfully, there is an easier way.

With a programmable thermostat, you don’t have to remember to make daily adjustments. Programmable thermostats automatically adjust to your desired home temperature, and you can program them based on your family’s unique daily schedule. So, every morning there is one less thing to remember. Your programmable thermostat will remember for you.

A programmable thermostat will also increase the comfort level of your home. Instead of waiting to adjust the thermostat back to a comfortable setting once you get home, your programmable thermostat will make sure you home is comfortable when you arrive. By programming your thermostat to begin heating or cooling a half hour before you expect to arrive, your home will already be at your favorite temperature when you walk through the door.

Other Money-Saving Ideas

Adjusting the setting of your thermostat isn’t the only way to save money on heating and cooling bills this school year. Here are some other simple ways you can cut your utility costs while the kids are in school.

Open Your Windows

As fall temperatures become more mild, consider opening your windows, especially at night. This will help you take advantage of cooler nighttime temperatures and give your air conditioner a much needed break.

If nighttime temperatures are still too warm, or having windows open makes you or your family feel less secure, simply raise the temperature setting a few degrees. You’ll be asleep, after all, and probably won’t even feel the difference.

Close Blinds and Curtains

Covering your windows with quality blinds or curtains offers an extra layer of insulation between your home’s interior and extreme outdoor temperatures. This means your HVAC system won’t have to work as hard to maintain indoor temperatures.

Schedule Regular Maintenance

If you want to save money, you need to make sure your heating and cooling system is running efficiently. Make sure you change your filters regularly. Also, be sure to schedule annual maintenance with your local HVAC professional. During an annual tune-up, a qualified technician will make sure all system components are clean and functioning properly.

If you have questions about programmable thermostats or need to schedule an appointment for regular system maintenance, be sure to contact your local HVAC professionals.

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Large and Small Ways to Control your Heating Bill

save moneyAs we hunker down and brace ourselves for the coldest months of the year, conscientious homeowners are probably thinking about how they can reduce their heating bill. The cost of keeping your home cozy and warm can be an expensive endeavor. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways, both large and small, that you can trim some of that expense without sacrificing comfort.

Whether you need a few simple and easy ways to reduce your heating bill or if you want to pull out all the stops and make big changes, you will find something helpful in the action steps listed below.

Baby Steps to Reducing Your Heating Bill

Even if you don’t have the time or money to make big changes to heating system, there are still small changes that will save you money.

  1. Turn down your thermostat setting. This is the easiest and fastest way to start saving money on your heating expenses. By turning your thermostat down just a few degrees, you can save big on your next bill. As a general rule of thumb, for every degree you turn down your thermostat (and leave it there) you save between 1 and 3 percent of your heating bill.

    So throw on a nice warm sweater if you have to, but turn down that thermostat to start saving money.

  2. Use the warmth of the sun. Only a fool would turn down free heat. If you have windows that face the midday sun, open up the blinds and let in the natural warmth of the sun.

  3. Don’t be afraid to use a space heater. Space heaters are designed to heat small spaces. While space heaters have a reputation for being expensive to run, used correctly they can save you money on your heating bill. If you know that you will be in one area of your home, you can add some extra heat to that area with a space heater. Meanwhile, go ahead and turn down the thermostat a few degrees. Unoccupied areas of your home may be cooler, but the room you are in will still be warm and cozy.

    Using a space heater occasionally will keep you from having to maintain a comfortable temperature in the entire home when it isn’t necessary.

  4. Use an electric blanket. By using an energy efficient electric blanket, you will feel more comfortable sleeping at a cooler temperature setting. You may even decide to use the blanket to warm your bed by turning it on 15 minutes before bedtime. Then you can turn it off and still feel warm and comfortable as you fall asleep without raising your electric bill.

Larger Steps to Reduce Your Heating Bill

  1. Seal your home’s drafts. You can easily places where cold winter air enters your home by using a handheld draft detector. If you don’t have access to one of these handy devices, you can use your hand or even a candle.

    Once you’ve located any draft sources, take steps to seal them. Use caulk on leaky windows and weather stripping on gaps around doors.

  2. Get a tune-up for your furnace. Regular cleaning and equipment adjustments can make a huge difference in how your heating system runs. By scheduling a regular annual furnace tune-up, your heating system will run more efficiently. This is also the best way to catch potential problems before they turn into expensive repairs.

  3. Replace your attic insulation. Think of your attic insulation as a cozy blanket that helps hole warmth inside your home. Quality attic insulation is your home’s best defense against unnecessary heat loss.

    Over time, insulation breaks down and compresses, causing a loss in insulation volume. If your insulation is older than 10 years old, it may be time for replacement. If your attic insulation has settled and measures less than 12 inches thick, it is time replace or add to the existing insulation.

  4. Order a home energy audit. A home energy audit is an extensive test that produces a detailed report. Using the latest technology, a home heating professional will search for air leaks as well as any other sources of inefficiency and help you determine steps to maximize your home’s energy efficiency.

  5. Upgrade your heating system. If your furnace is more than 10 years old, it may be time to consider replacement. A newer system is probably the best way to achieve big savings on your heating bill. Be sure to talk to an HVAC professional about which options will work best for you.


Winter heating bills don’t have to be frightening. Whether you want to make big changes or take small actions, there are ways you can control your heating bill. If you have questions or need help implementing any of these strategies, contact your local HVAC expert for more information.

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