Finance Blog

Cut Your Energy Bills Without Cutting Comfort

Written by Ilyce Glink on December 10, 2010 in Real Estate  |   2 comments

Cut Your Energy Bills Without Cutting Comfort There’s nothing better than snuggling up in front of a roaring fire in the middle of a raging snowstorm. (Can you tell I grew up in Chicago?) And while I like to sleep in a freezing cold bedroom…

Cut Your Energy Bills Without Cutting Comfort

There’s nothing better than snuggling up in front of a roaring fire in the middle of a raging snowstorm. (Can you tell I grew up in Chicago?) And while I like to sleep in a freezing cold bedroom at night, not having heat isn’t really an option.

If you don’t like being cold in the winter, you might reach for either a sweater or the thermostat. But there’s no reason to suffer higher energy bills.

Here are some easy ways to cut your energy bills without cutting comfort:

  1. Learn how to caulk. A tube of caulk costs just a few bucks at your local home-improvement store. Learning how to use it properly takes just a few minutes. But sealing in the warm air while keeping the cold from seeping in can save you as much as 5 to 10 percent on your energy bill.
  2. Insulate your attic. In many homes, warm air rises right through the roof. By spending $400 to $600 on insulation (depending on the size of your attic or crawlspace), you’ll keep the warm air inside. And here’s a bonus: Adding insulation will also prevent the cool air from seeping out in the summer, keeping your home cooler and making it more energy efficient overall.
  3. Blow insulation into your walls. What’s good for the roof is great for your walls. If you have walls that aren’t insulated, you can have someone blow insulation into them, greatly increasing your home’s energy efficiency.
  4. Insulate your hot-water heater. If you keep the tank from cooling off, it will cost less to keep your water hot.
  5. Clean your furnace. Have a professional clean your furnace once a year or once every other year to keep it running at peak efficiency.
  6. Close the flue. If you leave the fireplace flue open, warm air will literally run right up and out the chimney. You might as well be burning dollars instead of wood.
  7. Install storm windows and doors. If you have single-pane windows or a front or back door that doesn’t keep the cold weather out, consider adding storm windows or a storm door to block out the cold air and keep your home warmer.
  8. Install weather-stripping. In places where caulk won’t work, you might try weather-stripping. Weather-stripping will seal door and window jambs so the cold air can’t get in.
  9. Turn your thermostat down in the winter and up in the summer. Turning down the thermostat by two degrees in the winter and up two degrees in the summer could lower your energy bill by as much as 10 percent.

Have someone do an energy audit of your house, and you’ll see where your energy dollars are going—and where you might make some additional money-saving improvements.

Ilyce R. Glink is the author of several books, including 100 Questions Every First-Time Home Buyer Should Ask and Buy, Close, Move In!. She blogs about money and real estate at ThinkGlink.com and at the Home Equity blog for CBS MoneyWatch.


Balancing What the Bank Says You Can Afford and What You Can Really Afford
Getting Rid of Debt before Buying a Home
How to Think about Debt When Buying a Home
Strategic Default: The Consequences of Not Paying Your Mortgage
4 Tips for Buying a HUD Home


  1. Editor, Equifax Personal Finance Blog says:

    You've shared a wealth of good information with us this week, Ilyce. Thanks!

    From Lottie via ActiveRain:

  2. Rob says:

    Great tips.

    What should the thermostat be set on? This is a great source of constant debate with the spouse here.

    Rob for Atlanta Real Estate
    Rob for Atlanta Townhomes

Leave a Comment

Name :

Commenting guidelines

We welcome your interest and participation on this forum, but be aware that comments will be published at Equifax's sole discretion. Please don't use this blog to submit questions or concerns about your Equifax credit report or raise customer service issues. Instead, you should contact Equifax directly for all such matters and any attempts to do so in this forum will be promptly re-directed.

Some other factors to consider when commenting:
  1. Registration and privacy. While no registration is required to visit our forum, participants wishing to post a message must register by creating an account. All personal information provided by forum members incident to registration is governed by our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.
  2. All comments are anonymous. We'll delete your name, e-mail address, and any other identifying information, including details about your investments.
  3. We can't post or respond to every comment - As much as we'd like to, we can't post every comment, nor can we guarantee that we will respond to each individual message. All questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or similar customer service issues should be handled by contacting Equifax directly.
  4. Don't offer specific legal, tax or financial advice. All of the materials on this Site are for information, education, and noncommercial purposes only and this forum is not intended as a means of expressing views or ideas regarding any specific legal, tax, or investment advice. While offering general rules of thumb is both permitted and encouraged, recommending specific ideas or strategies regarding investments, taxes, and related matters is prohibited.
  5. Credit Repair. This blog is not intended as a venue for the discussion or exchange of ideas regarding credit repair or other strategies intended to assist visitors and community members improve or otherwise modify their credit histories, ratings or scores.
  6. Stay on topic. Your comment should be concise and pertain to the specific post in question.
  7. Be respectful of the community. The use of profanity, offensive language, spam, and personal attacks will not be tolerated and egregious or repeat offenders will be banned from future participation. We encourage disagreement and healthy debate, but please refrain from personal attacks on our WordPresss and contributors.
  8. Finally: Participation in this forum may be terminated by Equifax immediately and without notice for failure to comply with any guidelines or Terms of Use. As such, you should familiarize yourself with all pertinent requirements prior to submitting any response through the blog or otherwise. All opinions expressed in this forum are solely those of the individual submitting the comment, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.

Equifax maintains this interactive forum for education and information purposes in order to allow individuals to share their relevant knowledge and opinions with other members and visitors. We encourage you to participate in discussions about personal finance issues and other topics of interest to this community, but please read our commenting guidelines first. Equifax reserves the right to monitor postings to the forum and comments will be published at our discretion. Do you have questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or customer-service issues regarding an Equifax product? If so, please contact Equifax directly. All opinions and information expressed or shared in blog comments are solely those of the person submitting the comments, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.

Real Estate Archive

Stay Informed Sign up for our FREE Equifax email Newsletter