One of my most hated expenses is the heating bill.
We don't have air conditioning, so we only experience this type of bill for a few months every year, but it's still a pain. Our heating bill isn't even all that much, but it's enough to make us want to save a bit here and there on it.
We moved in December 2012 to a house that is quite a bit larger than our previous dwelling/shack. A larger house generally results in larger bills, particularly when it comes to heating, cooling, and electricity.
We've been able to keep our electricity bill cost neutral, but we're on a mission to save some cash when it comes to heating, too. So far we've taken a few steps to bring it down a bit.
The Attic Re-Insulation Project
Our house came with a big problem when we bought it: vermiculite insulation in the attic, which unfortunately tested positive for asbestos.
We found out about the asbestos when we got our home inspection, and were able to negotiate the removal costs of the dangerous substance, but post-abatement we were left with an un-insulated attic.
We re-insulated the attic and every other point we could get at by purchasing the highest possible grade of thermal resistant insulation we could find. We insulated with R-40 and saved quite a bit of money on it by buying it off of Craigslist. There are many types of insulation available with varying R values so make sure you do your research to find out which one is best for you with regards to its properties (sound proof, fire resistance, water repellent, reduce heat/cold air from escaping) and the type of climate you live in.
Wood Burning Stove
We have a wood burning fireplace, which we try to use as often as possible instead of the alternative forced air heat.
The heat from a wood burning fireplace seems so much warmer than forced air or electric heat, and it's free.
We don't buy wood for the fireplace. Instead, we use discarded pallets. There are a lot of companies that have to pay to get pallets picked up and shipped away, so we (and by we, I mean my fiance) picks them up from the businesses (construction companies, grocery and furniture stores, etc) after talking to the management.
He then chops up the pallets and we have free heat all winter.
Changing out the Windows
Our fireplace doesn't reach our loft, which we've turned into our ultimate master bedroom. This is the only room in the house that doesn't have double paned windows, as the reno company that worked on our house before we bought it overlooked them.
This is next on our priority list. While we don't really use the electric heat in the loft, single paned windows can be poor for air quality. Condensation can build up more readily with single paned windows, causing mould and mildew on the window sills.
Plus, the loft can get pretty hot in the summer and double paned windows can help with that.
What do you do to reduce your heating bill?