Winter Heating Tips

By Tracy Teare
Posted 02/06/23
Elder woman sitting comfortably warm

What can you do about high heating costs?

With inflation influencing prices on everything from groceries to gasoline, many are worrying about high heating costs this winter. It helps to know you can take steps to make your home more energy efficient — and that there are resources to turn to for help.

  • Get your heating system serviced. Annual tune ups keep your home heating system running at optimum efficiency, says the Maine Governor’s Energy Office. If you haven’t done it yet this year, get your boiler or furnace cleaned. Don’t forget chimneys — wood and oil burning systems both run better and more safely with routine care.

Man working on home heating


  • Consider a heat pump. Powered by electricity, these units are key for efficient heating in cold weather, and also keep homes comfortable in hot, humid weather. One study showed saving of more than $600 a year for heating with oil and electricity after installing heat pumps. You might even be eligible for a rebate that makes installation more affordable. 

  • Boost your home’s energy efficiency. Too often, culprits like windows and ducts that let cold air flow in, outdated heating systems, and old appliances mean your energy dollars don’t go as far as they could. Here are a few things you can do to save:
    • Check your water heater thermostat. Turning the setting from 140°F (where many manufacturers set it) to 120°F can save as much as $400 a year, says the U.S. Department of Energy. It takes about two hours – and it costs nothing. Find step by step instructions and a how-to video here
    • Seal air leaks. Closing up gaps from the outside is another relatively simple way to save 10 to 20 percent on energy. You can start by installing foam gaskets on power outlets and light switches. Then use caulk or spray foam to fill gaps in windows. In most cases, checking your entire home and sealing leaks costs $3 to $30 and takes no more than two hours. First check the outside for areas where different types of building materials meet – like foundation and siding. Inside, feel for leaks and look for gaps around baseboards, outlets, doors, vents, and windows. 

    Sealing your window


    • Add storm windows. With as much as 33% energy savings per year, placing low-emissivity storm windows (called low-es) over single-pane windows delivers a lot of bang for your buck. Though it can be time consuming — about 30 minutes per window — to do on your own and costs $60 to $200 per window up front — this strategy will save you money, year after year. Details here
  • Find a helping hand. If you’re on a fixed income, if you rent housing, or if you’re a low-income homeowner, you could be eligible for assistance with the cost of home heating.