3 tips for heating responsibly

The first frost of the season crept up parts of the country recently as we sink deeper into fall. 

Some snow fell, and record lows as well as historically cold daytime highs peppered parts of the Rockies, Plains, Northwest, and Upper Midwest, according to With the cold weather beginning to kick up now, its time to start thinking about heating up your home. While the real harsh temperatures likely won't come around for a few months, preparing early will ensure you're not stuck laboring in the cold. Additionally, getting a head start will help you make sure you're saving the most money possible. 

In order to make sure you're heating your home efficiently, and doing so in a financially responsible manner, check out a few of the tips below:

1. A shield from shivering
Insulation is great all-purpose protection from the cold temperatures that set in this time of year, according to Bankrate. All-year-round attic insulation will prevent heat transfer and control moisture. However, before you begin installation, make sure you've taken care of any potential hot air escape routes. This means making sure that all ductwork, cable television and plumbing penetrations are well-sealed. After this, it is time to begin laying down the insulation. A return on investment should come in as quick as a year with monthly a energy bill that is between 20 percent and 30 percent lower. 

2. A window to savings
Another way to make sure you're not losing money on unnecessary heating is to make sure warm air isn't escaping through your windows. People end up losing a lot of energy through out-dated windows that don't do enough to prevent heat-loss, Bankrate noted. Installing more energy efficient windows can easily lower your monthly energy bills. For example, double-pane thermal windows trap heat with dead-air space, a poor conductor, filling the area between the sheets of glass. Windows such as these allow homeowners to enjoy the cost-saving benefits of solar heating, unlike the single-pane variety which tend to let out more hot air than they take in. Installing energy efficient windows can help reduce yearly heating costs by between 16 percent and 21 percent. 

3. Heat your way to a better credit score
Lower heating bills are easier to pay, and simple payments mean no more debt owed to utilities companies. While this benefit may be nice enough, it can get even better. If you're able to pay your monthly energy bills in a timely fashion, then you can actually boost your credit score. This can be done using alternative credit scoring agencies, such as PRBC - the oldest and largest of the country's alternative credit scores. These scoring formulas take into account data not normally utilized by the traditional credit bureaus in order to depict individuals' financial responsibility more accurately. For example, not only does PRBC report missed payments, it also acknowledges payments made on time in transactions such as your monthly heating bill. This can be enough to raise your credit score and afford you a better car, or even a nice home!

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