Do you panic every time you get a gas bill in the winter? This year, make moves to stop stressing — without resorting to living in Arctic tundra mode.
Egypt Sherrod, host of HGTV’s “Property Virgins” and a personal finance expert, shows us how to keep heating costs down when the weather outside gets frightful.
Do these now
Fix the plumbing
Insulate your pipes. “This should be high on your list,” warns Sherrod. “You don’t want your pipes to freeze over.”
Give your water heater some TLC
“Once a year, you should completely drain your water heater tank and flush out the sediments,” say Sherrod. “It will save you money on your bill because it will make it more efficient.” Another tip: Wrap an insulating blanket around your hot water heater to give it extra protection.
Zip up your house
“50 percent of energy wasted in winter months comes from un-insulated walls, floors, ceiling and attics,” says Sherrod. “It’s like putting a jacket on your house. You wouldn’t go outside in five-degree weather without a coat, and you wouldn’t want your house to be sitting there without insulation either.”
Dress your drapes
Pick up a few yards of insulator fabric and some adhesive Velcro strips. Attach the fabric to your drapes on the window side. And presto! Instant warmer house. “My grandmom always did this trick and now it’s ingrained in our family — you don’t have to be a Martha Stewart to do it,” says Sherrod. “If your drapes have an insulating liner, it can cut your heat loss in half.”
At night, keep the temperature at 68 degrees and add comforters to your bed, says the expert. You’ll be warm without breaking the bank. “You save three percent for every degree you dial down your heat,” Sherrod says. Of course, this doesn’t work as well for when you have to get up.