Tag Archives: money saving tips

8 Creative Ways to Save on Heating Costs this Winter

Q: I’ve sealed all leaky windows and doors in my home, but my heating bill is still astronomical. Is there anything else I can do to keep my heating costs down?

A: Sealing air leaks is a great first step toward lowering your heating bill. Luckily, there are many other methods for hacking your way to a lower heating bill.

Here are some creative ways to save on heating costs.

Dust your vents
This can be an easy, effective way for lowering your heating bills. Dust acts as a natural insulator and can block some of the hot air from heating your home.

Lower your thermostat 
The Department of Energy recommends setting your thermostat to 68 degrees in the winter for maximum energy savings. For every degree you crank it down over an 8-hour period throughout the month, you can shave 1 percent off your heating bill. If you can lower your thermostat by 10 degrees at night or while you’re at work, you’ll save 10 percent off your heating bill! A programmable thermostat can do the job for you so you don’t have to remember to turn it down.

Turn on your ceiling fans
Most ceiling fans are equipped with a “summer” and “winter” setting. In the wintertime, set the  blades to move in a clockwise direction so hot air, which naturally rises toward the ceiling, can be blown downward to warm up the room.

Use aluminum foil
Tape a piece of aluminum foil behind the radiator to reflect heat into the room instead of into the wall.

Use zone heating
If you live in a large home, keep the lesser-used areas just warm enough to prevent pipes from freezing. Close some of the vents in these rooms and shut the door to keep that heat in. On the flip side, open the doors of the rooms that see heavy use so hot air can flow evenly throughout the house.

Rearrange your furniture
Check if you have any furniture situated near your heating vents. You don’t want to be paying all that money just for hot air to be flowing into the underside of your living room sofa.

Let the sunshine in
The low-in-the-sky winter sun can give you hours of free solar heat each day — if you let it in. Be sure to open the curtains in the early morning hours and to close them at night to keep that warm air inside. You may also want to swap your curtains for thicker, insulated ones in the winter for further protection against the cold night air.

Humidify your air
Use humidity to your advantage by investing in a humidifier for the winter. Moisture helps to hold onto heat and will keep the air warmer longer.

So…what’s your secret heating hack? Share it with us in the comments.

Eco-Friendly Ways to Save Money

Today is Earth Day, so we wanted to not only bring you positive ways you can impact the planet, but how those changes can impact your savings account as well. We came up with 11 ways to save money all while going green.

1. Use the Sun to Save Money

You don’t need expensive equipment to do a little solar heating. Just open the curtains on the south side of the house during winter days to let the sun shine in. And open the drapes on east-facing windows in the morning (if they’re not shaded).

Of course, the opposite is true when you need to keep the house cool.

2. Drink Tap Water

Not only can a bottled water habit get expensive, it takes it toll on the environment as well. The Water Project says:

  • It takes three liters of water to package one liter of bottled water.
  • Water bottles can take 1,000 years to biodegrade, and if incinerated they produce toxic fumes.
  • Making water bottles for U.S. demand alone takes more than 1.5 million barrels of oil.

We know not every state has access to drinkable tap water, so if you can, drink from the tap.

4. Develop Green Laundry Habits

There are a number of ways to save money doing your laundry — and almost all of them are also environmentally friendly.

Here are some of the best green and frugal habits, according to these various sources, along with the potential annual savings:

  • Wash in cold water ($40)
  • Use less detergent ($80)
  • Line-dry your clothes ($85)
  • Skip the fabric softener ($65)
  • Replace the old washer ($55)
  • Run full loads (savings vary)
  • Keep the dryer lint trap clean (savings vary)

5. Hunt Down and Put an End to Energy Vampires

The U.S. Department of Energy says energy vampires — electronics and appliances that keep using power when turned off — can add 10% to your electrical bill.

For example, phone chargers keep sucking down power even when you’re not charging, and a digital cable box can add more than $40 per year to your bill if you don’t unplug it between uses.

But who wants to run around unplugging things all the time? Instead, plug electronics into power strips that have an on/off button so you can easily cut the power to the TV and DVD player with a flip of a switch.

6. Walk and Bicycle More

If the store is nearby and you only need to carry a few things, walk or take your bike. 

Depending on how many places are within reasonable walking and biking distance, you can significantly reduce your car-related expenses — and you’ll put a lot less pollution into the air.

7. Use Public Transportation

Even if you own a car, you can save money using public transportation. Take the bus or train on longer cross-town trips that would eat up more gas, or to avoid paying for parking.

Here in Portland, Tri-Met is always looking for ways to do more for the environment. Choosing public transit in Portland eliminates over 200,000 daily car trips, which reduces carbon emissions by over 60%.

8. Get an Energy Audit

A home energy audit can identify easy-to-correct energy waste issues in your home, and many utility companies offer them for free or a small charge.

If the cost of a professional audit or assessment is too high for you, just do it yourself. The U.S. Department of Energy has a video to walk you through the process.

10. Stop Those Water Leaks

Leaky faucets and showers are bad enough, but constantly running toilets can be really expensive. A moderately leaky flapper can cost you $70 per month!

Given the potentially high cost of this wasted water, it’s probably worth $5 or so to buy and install a new flapper if you ever hear the toilet running in the middle of the night.

11. Vacation Closer to Home

Of course, this green habit can also save you a lot of money.

12. Dress Warmer

One of the easiest ways to save on your heating bill is to simply turn down the thermostat. You can knock $10 per month off your winter heating bill for each degree you lower the setting.

To do so comfortably, you may have to start another new habit and wear warmer clothes around the house.


Want to get a savings account started for all the money you are about to save? Connect with a Member Relationship Specialist today to find the one that fits your needs best by calling 503-275-0300 Option 3. You can also stop by our branch located at 95 SW Taylor St., Portland, OR 97204.

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