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Now that summer is gone, cool weather is upon us. Depending on where you live, fall and winter mark the expensive home-heating season, so it’s important to make the most of your energy dollar. If you’re looking for tips to save on your home-heating costs, you’ve come to the right place. Here are some recommendations you can use to save more than a few dollars this season. Just follow these simple guidelines from the Department of Energy and enjoy lower heating bills.
Set your thermostat as low as is comfortable in the winter. For each degree you raise your thermostat setting, your fuel bill climbs 3 percent. So dress accordingly. Consider slipping into a sweater before you crank up the temperature.
Check the temperature setting of your water heater. In very few circumstances should it be set at 120 degrees or higher. Also, check the location of the water heater. If it is stored in a cold space, such as the garage or basement, purchase an insulation blanket and wrap it around the heater. This step will help reduce heat loss and save you money.
Inspect the quality of your home’s insulation and immediately replace old or worn material; and place insulation in areas that aren’t covered but should be. Replacing and adding insulation is an excellent way to reduce home-heating costs.
Clean or replace filters on furnaces once a month — or as needed. A simple task like this and those in No. 3 could improve your systems’ energy efficiency by 10 percent.
Clean warm-air registers, baseboard heaters, and radiators as needed; make sure they’re not blocked by furniture, carpeting, or drapes.
Bleed trapped air from hot-water radiators once or twice a season; if in doubt about how to perform this task, call a professional.
One of life’s little pleasures is camping out under a hot shower on a cold day. Resisting this temptation and reducing shower time will, of course, lower costs. In fact, cutting shower time in half can save up to 30 percent on your water heating bill!
Place heat-resistant radiator reflectors between exterior walls and the radiators.
Use kitchen, bath, and other ventilating fans wisely; in just 1 hour, these fans can pull out a houseful of warmed air. Turn fans off as soon as they have done the job. Try to keep the humidity level between 30 percent and 60 percent.
During the heating season, keep the draperies and shades on your south-facing windows open during the day to allow sunlight to enter your home and closed at night to reduce the chill you may feel from cold windows. During the cooling season, keep the window coverings closed during the day to prevent solar gain.
Close an unoccupied room that is isolated from the rest of the house, such as in a corner, and turn down the thermostat or turn off the heating for that room or zone. Some programmable thermostats now come with temperature zoning options. However, do not turn the heating off if it adversely affects the rest of your system. For example, if you heat your house with a heat pump, do not close the vents; doing so could harm the heat pump. And always make sure that there is sufficient heat to prevent the freezing of water pipes.
Consider installing double-pane windows with protective coating that reflects heat back into your home during winter. If such a retrofit is not in your budget, cover your windows with clear plastic film. At a typical cost of $4 to $6 per window, the film creates an insulating air pocket between the plastic and the window, reducing heat loss through windows by between 25 percent and 50 percent.
Caulk and weather strip around exterior seams, cracks and openings. Pay extra attention around windows and at points where various exterior materials like wood, brick and vinyl siding meet. And on the inside, caulking and weather-stripping around windows and door frames will cut down on drafts.