Furnace Fiascos Avoided

Frugal Living Guide To Keeping Your Energy Bills Bargain-Basement Low

If you're truly dedicated to frugal living, you're probably already implementing a lot of the common energy-saving tips out there. Likely, you keep your home temperature warmer during the summer and cooler during the winter, take shorter showers, and unplug your electronics when they're not in use. But there's always room to go even lower with your energy bills! Here are some super frugal ways to get your bills lower than low.

Vacuum your air filter and your vents periodically.

Heating and air professionals recommend changing your furnace air filter every one to two months. Doing so doesn't just keep your furnace clean, but it also reduces your energy bills. It takes more power to propel air through a dirty filter than through a clean one. Yet, by the time you reach that two-month mark, there's probably a lot of buildup on the filter already, especially if you have pets or an older, more dusty home. You can keep efficiency up by vacuuming off the filter about once a week. In doing this, you may even squeeze more than two months' use out of a single fiberglass filter. Do replace it if you begin to notice dust particles that get stuck and don't vacuum away, or if the fiberglass begins to look tattered and shredded.

When you vacuum your home, also vacuum out the openings to all of your heating vents and air returns. Removing the dust that accumulates here before it has a chance to travel through your ducts further reduces dirt buildup on your filter and inside your furnace -- and a clean system is an efficient one.

Practice makeshift zone heating.

Zone heating systems allow you to set different temperatures in different parts of your home. While replacing your current system with a zone heating system is probably not cost-effective (unless you need a new heating system anyways), you can practice "makeshift zone" heating to save on energy costs. Keep the majority of your home just warm enough to prevent pipes from freezing: 55 degrees F should do the trick. Use a space heater to warm the just room you're spending time in to a more comfortable temperature. You can often pick up used space heaters at garage sales and on Craigslist for just a few dollars.

Take cool showers.

Taking shorter showers reduces your hot water consumption, but taking short, cool showers saves even more energy. There's a way to do this rather painlessly, too. Start turning the temperature down just a little bit more each time you take a shower. Work your way down over about two weeks' time until you're taking a shower in water that's around room temperature. (You can work down to a completely cold shower if you're really dedicated to saving energy, but don't feel bad if you can't handle that much shivering.)

Hang blankets over the windows.

Insulating curtains do a great job of reducing heat transfer through the windows, but they can be expensive. Thick blankets do just as good of a job, even though they're not quite as attractive. Just drape a big, thick blanket over each curtain rod. Focus on the largest windows and any that feel drafty. Your home should stay warmer with less effort from your heating system.

Keep your freezer full.

A full freezer holds its temperature better because there is less room for warm air to accumulate each time you open the freezer. So, you can save on energy by keeping your freezer well-stocked. Purchase grocery items when they're deeply discounted and store them in the freezer for later use. Or, you can fill empty gallon jugs and bottles with water and use them to take up empty freezer space.

Why pay more than you have to for energy? With these super-frugal tips, you'll have the lowest energy bills in town.