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Seven Energy Saving Tips for the Heating Season Ahead
Temperatures are dropping here in fast here in Massachusetts (we’re due to hit the freezing mark later in the week); before you know it we will be in the heart of heating season, and you will have the heating bills to prove it.
Want to keep those heating bills as low as possible? Here are seven of the most cost-effective ways to do it:
Program your thermostat – According to a study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, about 90 percent of Americans say they “rarely or never” program their thermostat. That’s a shame, because it’s one of the easiest ways we know to save 10 percent or more on your energy costs. Aim for a default heating system temperature of 68 degrees to balance comfort and energy efficiency when people are home; drop the temperature six to eight degrees when they are not.
Change your air filters regularly – A clogged air filter will make your heating equipment overwork to keep you warm; that overwork means higher bills, more repairs, and a shorter lifespan for your equipment. Check your furnace’s air filter once a month during heating season, cleaning or changing it when needed.
Reverse your ceiling fans – It may seem counter-intuitive to run a fan in the winter, but if the blades are spinning in the right direction, your fan will push rising warm air back down and into your room. Most ceiling fans have a reversal switch to change their spin; see your owner’s manual for details.
Seal air leaks – The average American home leaks the equivalent of an open window’s worth of air through leaks around doors, windows, and other hard-to-see places. Air leaks force your heating system to overwork to keep you comfortable – which means you will pay more to heat your home and spend more on maintenance for your equipment, too. Inexpensive measures like caulk, weather sealing, and door sweeps are effective ways to keep warm air in and cold air out (you can read up on some air sealing basics on the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) website). Insulation helps, too – see #6 below.
Insulate – Properly insulating your attic, crawl spaces, and barriers between conditioned and unconditioned rooms could cut 5-10 percent of your heating and cooling bills – often enough to offset the cost of installation in just a year or two. Check out these DOE insulation tips and guidelines.
Maintain your heating equipment – Professional maintenance is the key to keeping your heating systems running efficiency and reliably: not only will an annual heating system tune-up lower your heating bills, it will also prolong the life of your equipment, prevent costly repairs, and even keep your equipment warrantees in force.