winter heating bill mistakes can lead to a high winter gas bill

4 Mistakes That Increase Your Winter Heating Bill

  • Written By: Shannon Bedrich
  • Edited By: Kelly Bedrich

  • Simple changes in your habits and your home can help you cut your winter heating bill this season. Here are the 4 winter heating mistakes that are likely driving up your bill.

    Mistake 1: Setting the thermostat to the incorrect setting.

    The biggest issue we see in winter heating bills is setting the thermostat too high . Do you really ne/ed your heat at 78°?

    Instead, turn down the heat and put on a sweater. Sounds old fashioned but it’s the way to feel comfortable inside and save on your heating bill. This is the biggest winter heating mistake we see.

    Recommended Thermostat Settings: We recommend 68* while you are home, 60* while you are away, and 65* for sleeping.

    If 68° feels too cool while you’re home, start at 72°, which is a common setting for most homes. Then lower the thermostat by one degree every other day. By working your way down to 68* over a few days , you’ll acclimate to the lower setting.

    And if 65° feels too cold for sleeping? Just know that it’s the recommended temperature for the best sleep, according to the Sleep Foundation. Add a few blankets for weight and warmth and you’ll get the best sleep ever!

    Mistake 2: Setting the Thermostat Higher to Make the Room Warm Up Faster

    Your heating system will run until the room reaches a certain temperature. Then the thermostat signals your central heat to turn off.

    Turning the thermostat higher doesn’t make the room heat up faster.

    Instead, invest in a wi-fi enabled thermostat. That way you can turn up the heat remotely (to 68°) and arrive to a toasty warm house.

    Mistake 3: Buying the wrong size space heater.

    If you have a large home but only need to heat certain rooms, electric space heaters may be an option. You can leave the whole house at a lower thermostat setting and just heat the room you’re in.

    Just make sure to properly size the space heater to the room.

    The general rule of thumb is 100 watts for every square foot. So a 10 X 10 room (100 square feet) would need a 1000 watt space heater (100 square feet X 100 watts per square foot).

    And be reasonable. A space heater is not going to heat your open concept living room with a cathedral ceiling. But it’s a great option for your work-from-home office.

    Modern space heaters have thermostat settings on them to guard against overheating. It will shut off automatically when the room reaches the set temperature.

    How much does it cost to run a space heater in a 10 x 10 room?

    It will cost under $13 a month to run your 10 X 10 space heater. Here’s the calculation!
    Appliance: Space Heater used to heat a 10 x 10 home office
    Number of Watts:  1000 watts
    Hours used per day:  4 hours (The space heater will not run all day; it will run until the set point is reached)
    1000 watts X 4 hours = 4,000 watt-hours per day
    4,000 watt-hours per day / 1000 = 4 kWh per day
    4 kWh per day * 20 work days in a month = 80 kWh per month
    80 kWh * 15.93 cents per kWh national average as of August 2023 EIA = $12.74 per month
    Source:, How to Lower Your Electricity Bill This Winter

    Mistake 4: Thinking Your Home is Air Tight

    When was the last time you checked your home for air leaks? Money could be flying out of your home in the form of heat!

    Check seals around door and windows. Try the dollar bill test. Close a dollar bill in the door or window. If you can pull it out easily, you need to replace the seals!

    The attic access door is also an area where warm air escapes and cold air seeps in. Install an attic tent above the access door. This will keep the cold air in your attic and the warm air in your home.

    The EIA estimates that nearly 30% of heat loss occurs around windows and doors, with another 25% lost through the attic. Seal up your home and keep the heat inside!

    Avoiding these 4 mistakes can help keep your heating bill lower this heating season. For more tips, check out these articles:

    9 Ways to Lower Your Natural Gas Heating Bill

    12 Savings Tips for Winter Heating

    How to Lower Your Electricity Bill This Winter

    About Shannon Bedrich

    Shannon Bedrich, co-founded NaturalGasPlans in 2016 to help simplify the process of shopping for home utilities. A CPA and our CFO, Shannon is the one that looks at all the fine print on each gas plan. Outside of work, Shannon enjoys spending time with family, rooting for the Aggies, and exploring all that Houston has to offer.

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