September 6, 2021

Budget-Friendly Winter Heating Tips To Saving More in 2021

Winter is coming! Here are some quick and easy tactics to help you save more while still keeping it nice and toasty inside.

7 min read

Katie Conroy

Guest Blog


When you’re living on a fixed income, sticking to a budget is a must. So, when heating costs spike your winter utility bills, it can make it difficult to stay afloat financially. Instead of grappling with the choice of keeping their budget intact and putting their health at risk, budget-conscious seniors should plan ahead for the winter chill. Courtesy of, these affordable winterizing tips will help seniors keep their homes warm when the temperatures start to dip.

Inspect Your Heating System

A wintertime furnace failure can be deadly for older adults. Before cold weather hits, replace your home’s air filter and schedule an HVAC inspection to ensure your heating system is in good working order. If your furnace is nearing the end of its life, it’s better to replace it now than risk a breakdown. While it’s not cheap, a new furnace should last 15 to 25 years and reduce monthly heating costs due to improved efficiency. If you don’t have the cash on hand to pay for a new furnace, consider taking out a home equity loan to cover the cost of the improvement. If you have a chimney, this is also a great time to ensure it’s in good working order as well.
While fireplaces are great for warmth and atmosphere, they’re also a major hazard if they’re not properly maintained. Seek out a “chimney service near me,” check reviews for local pros, and schedule a cleaning before you use your fireplace this winter.

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Seal Drafts

Drafty doors and windows let warm air out and cold air in, spiking your heating bills and reducing your home’s comfort. Thankfully, sealing drafts is an inexpensive project that most homeowners can do themselves. After using a lit candle or incense to locate drafts, use caulk, adhesive weatherstripping, and door sweeps to seal doors and windows. Also, check basements and attics for drafts, as these less-used spaces are common sources of heat loss.

Winterize Windows

If your home has single-pane windows, replacing them with double-pane windows is the best way to improve energy efficiency. However, if new windows aren’t in the budget, there are a few cost-saving ways to keep cold air from seeping in. The cheapest solution is heat-shrink plastic, which costs about $1.50 to $3 per window and only requires a hairdryer to install. If you have a bit more to spend, consider installing interior storm windows and/or hanging thermal curtains.

Change Your Ceiling Fan Direction

Ceiling fans are a great money-saver in the hot summer months, but many homeowners don’t realize that ceiling fans can keep your home comfortable during winter too. By setting ceiling fans to rotate clockwise, you push warm air down from the ceiling. This adjustment allows you to make the most of your home’s heat and save up to 15 percent on winter heating costs.

Close Doors

Closing doors to unused rooms is another simple way that seniors can improve their home’s energy efficiency without spending a dime. By shutting doors to rooms you don’t use and closing vents inside of those rooms, you reduce the square footage to heat so you spend less on wintertime energy bills. If there’s a gap even when doors are closed, consider adding draft stoppers to create a stronger seal. Draft stoppers can be purchased inexpensively or easily handmade with items you already own to save even more.

No matter how tight your budget is, there’s one thing you shouldn’t do to save on winter heating costs: turn down the thermostat. Seniors can experience hypothermia at temperatures as high as 65 degrees Fahrenheit, so it’s important to keep your home heated to a comfortable temperature. If you need help winterizing your home or have taken these steps and are still struggling to pay high energy bills, apply for assistance through the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) or Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

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