Heating a home can be a pricey task. With oil costs on the constant rise, a home heating bill can often be exorbitant. Yet, there are some ways to reduce the cost and now is the time to do it.
The first step to reduce home heating bills is to reduce the temperature in the home. The human body can feel the difference of two degrees, but those two degrees make a difference in fuel consumption. By lowering a thermostat by two degrees for at least eight hours a day, a consumer can save 2% of the yearly heating bill. For a household consuming 1000 gallons of oil per year, this equals a $20 savings for something unnoticeable.
The saying that one has to spend money to earn it is often true. While it is difficult to budget for a new furnace system, if the old one is working at 50% AFUE (the measure of a system's overall performance) it is probably best to have a new one installed. A new oil burner which works at 85% AFUE (the best burners attain 85% AFUE or slightly better) could save as much as $41 per $100 spent on oil. In other words, based on a 1000 gallon yearly consumption a new burner would save over $860. As fuel prices rise, so does the savings.
If a new burner is too pricey for the moment, look at the possibility of investing in a programmable thermostat. The household temperature can be lowered when everyone is away for the day or asleep. A programmable thermostat allows the temperature to fall to 65° and rise again to a comfortable 70° just before everyone comes home or wakes. This saves an average of $100 per year on the nighttime temperature drop alone, easily recouping the price of the thermostat and installation over a two year span.
For those who heat with oil, now is the time to save the most on next year's fuel consumption. Many companies offer a savings plan during the summer months. Often called a Price Protection Plan, the plan requires one to pay the entire year's heating bill up front and have it delivered as scheduled throughout the year. However, by purchasing the oil in the summer, the consumer pays for the low summer rate which is often between $1-$2 less than during the winter months.
In addition to purchasing the entire amount of oil, companies offer plans that allow for a customer to order the oil ahead of time and then pay in equal monthly installments, all for the lower summer oil prices. Likewise, now is the time to have new systems installed and old systems cleaned. The ability to have a technician come to the home is higher and sometimes prices reflect the slower season.
In all, there is no quick way to save on oil heat but there are ways to save. When the yearly savings of a new system or pre-pay oil is compared to other investments such as bonds or CDs, the percentage for oil savings is much higher.
About The Author: Kelly Ann Butterbaugh is a freelance writer who regularly contributes to a variety of magazines as well as online newsletters. She teaches writing in the public school as well as at the collegiate level. Contact her at Englishteach@rcn.com or visit her website at users.rcn.com/
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