How to keep heating costs down for your home as prices expected to skyrocket this winter

Gas prices for cars are high, and gas prices for homes are expected to skyrocket this winter. So, before its time to fire up the furnace, let’s see what you can do to keep that cost down.

"It’s very important the filter is changed and checked every 30 days," said Kendrick Robinson, Instructor at HVAC Technical Institute. "It causes a restriction when you have a dirty filter … so the heat transfer will not work properly if you don’t have enough air flow going through the system."

That’s tip number one.

While some furnace filters will last for a few months, Robinson says some will not.

"It can. It all depends on the traffic in your house … or if you have pets or not," he said.


Looking for another way to lower your heating bill? Robinson says lower your thermostat to 60 degrees when you are not at home.

"If a person is not at home, the furnace is just going to keep running trying to keep up to that actual temperature that you set it to before you leave," he said. "If you drop it, it’s not going to come on as you would be if you were at home … so it’s actually saving your furnace instead of wear and tear."

If you are not sure you'll always remember to lower your thermostat before leaving for the day, there are ones that will do it for you.

"Now that a lot of people are returning to work and school, reducing your heat when you are not there during the day will have a big, big impact on your heating bills," said Kevin Brasler, Executive Editor of Consumer’s Checkbook. "You might be able to save as much as 15 percent … by using a programmable thermostat."

"There are other things you can do like using ceiling fans … not just during the summer but during the winter … heat rises. As the heat rises, if you are spinning your fans where it pushes the heat back down, then you are circulating air and it will help out your furnace … it can run more efficiently and you’ll be more comfortable also," Brasler added.

Experts say the trick is to make sure your ceiling fan is rotating clockwise to make sure it is pushing the heat down as it rises up.

Curtains are also a good way to keep the heat in your house.

"The heat tries to leave your actual house. So to try to slow that down, we have the curtains over the windows. It will make a barrier, so it slows down that heat transfer," said Robinson.

Don’t forget to check for leaks around your doors and windows and doing regular maintenance checkups on your furnace.

Here's something else to consider.

"If you do it right, you hire the right installer and you apply correctly for the paperwork, the payback period in Illinois for solar is very fast," Brasler said. "It’s within five or six years … way faster than other places around the country where the payback period is 15 years or longer."

Brasler also says there is a federal tax credit you can apply for that would cover more than 25 percent of your solar startup costs.

If you do receive a heating bill you cannot afford to pay, Brasler says it’s better to get in touch with the utility company and ask if they will work with you.