Cost saving tips for home heating

By Kelly McCarthy

November 22, 2013 Updated Nov 22, 2013 at 7:44 PM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) It's getting to be that time of year where heating the home could come at a higher price, but there are some things people can do right away that don't come with a big investment.

Making a few changes in the home before the winter could mean a lower bill next month. One of the most important cost saving tips is insulation.

"Proper insulation is always key," said Bob Auchinachie of Auchinachie Plumbing Heating & Air, "If you could throw another layer of insulation in your attic that's a big bonus."

Another tip is to turn down the thermostat. Experts said lowering the temperature while at work or overnight could lower a heating bill five to 10 percent.

However, people shouldn't lower thermostats by more than five degrees if you're looking to save money. Then, your furnace will have to run longer to heat everything back up.

'It is ideal to drop that thermostat back when you go to bed," Auchinachie said, "Maybe five degrees, so your house might be at 65 degrees, saving energy."

Next, have ceiling fans turning clockwise. This time of year it will keep the room comfortable at no extra cost.

"So what you want to do is turn the fan on low speed to drop the warm air down," Auchinachie said, "So you're feeling that in the winter, and then in the summer you want to pull that warm air up so reversing the fan is a good idea."

Homeowners should expect to see stable prices this winter from their natural gas and heating oil providers. Oil prices are up 3 percent, while the price of natural gas is up between 10 and 13 percent.

"Two to three percent increase," said Joe Mirabito of Mirabito Holdings Inc., "It doesn't sound like a lot but it is a bit disappointing to me because I was hoping for a two to three percent decrease at this time."

What will lower those heating bills the most this winter are changes to inside the home. New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) Energy Tips shows that the heating system is the largest energy user in the home. Also, it could add up to more than 60 percent of an energy bill.