2 simple ways to cut your heating bill

November is here, and for most regions within the U.S., 'tis the season for sharply dropping temperatures and turkey. This is also the time of year when way too much money is spent on heating when it isn't necessary.

This year, you can save money by making a few small adjustments to your home, and make the bills a little bit easier to pay. Cutting utilities is something everyone would surely love, especially people who take advantage of alternative credit scores - which heating bills factor into. It isn't very difficult to cut 5 percent here, and 10 percent there, when it comes to your heating bill. For example of a few simple ways to lower your heating bill this winter, read the tips below:

1. If you have a chimney, don't let it drain your money
Heat rises, and if you have a chimney, then that is an easy route of ascension, Bankrate explained. To ensure not too much air escapes through your chimney, reach up into the flue and feel for a draft. Many fireplace damping systems aren't as airtight as they can be, and if yours isn't, you're burning money through your flue. Masonry retrofits can be an expensive path, so in order to prevent air from escaping through the chimney, many homeowners take alternative routes. One option is to cover the fireplace with fitted glass doors. This option can cut 1 or 2 percent off of your energy bill. 

The Energy Department suggested a number of other ways to improve your home's energy efficiency through changes to the fireplace. For example, when you are using your fireplace, you can reduce heat loss by opening the nearest window about an inch, and closing doors leading into the room. You could also add some caulking around the fireplace hearth. 

2. Wrap up your water tank to cut costs
Insulating your water heater is a great way to save money on heating costs through the winter, according to the Energy Department. If you have an older water tank, it may not be insulated. Make sure that yours is in order to heat more efficiently. If it isn't, you can find a pre-cut jacket or blanket for about $20. Some utility companies will offer rebates on the cost of a jacket or blanket, or even install it at little-to-no cost.

After you've purchased the insulator, turn off the water heater. either by turning off the breaker on the panel for an electric heater, or turning the gas valve to pilot for a gas heater.  Wrap the insulation around the tank and then tape it into place. If the blanket isn't precut, you will have to take care of that. Take note of where the electric panels or gas valves and burner are, depending on what type of heater you have. Mark the area around them, and then cut holes in order to make sure they're accessible. Once you've finished the insulation, don't set your heater over 130 degrees - it may overheat the wiring. 

The Energy Department suggests setting your water heater to 120 degrees. To make your heater even more efficient, you can also insulate the pipes extending out of the heater up to six feet from the connection. Every three months, remember to drain a quart of water form the tank, in order to remove any sediment that may impede heat transfer. 

Completing these simple tasks will ensure your energy bill is easier to pay. Insulating your water heater can save between 4 and 9 percent on the average bill. Lower utilities payments are never a bad thing. 

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