In the winter your heating system is probably your biggest energy user, accounting for between 35% and 65% of your total monthly bill.
- Don’t touch it: Before bedtime turn down your thermostat for more energy savings. If you don’t want to wake up to a cold house, let a programmable thermostat turn the heat up an hour before you wake up.
If you have a heat pump, raising the thermostat more than 2°- 4°F at a time could cause the electric heating strips to come on, significantly increasing your heating costs.
- Don’t let heat escape: Keep windows and doors closed during cool periods. Weatherstrip and caulk your doors and windows. It can save you as much as 6% on your heating costs. When you’re not using your fireplace, close the damper.
- Close them at night: Closing blinds and drapes at night will help keep the cold out and the warmth in. In cooler months be sure to open them in the morning so the warmth of the sun can help heat your home.
- Insulate your home properly: A large portion of your heat can be lost through your ceiling, walls, and floor. That means you’re paying for something you’re not keeping. Proper insulation will keep your home warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. The higher the “R” value, the greater the insulating power. Installing R-38 ceiling insulation will cut heating costs. In some areas in the Northwest, R-49 insulation is recommended. Your attic must also be adequately ventilated to prevent heat build-up in the summer. You can install insulation yourself or have a licensed contractor assist you. Call your utility for program information.
- Keep it clean: A furnace with a dirty filter has to work harder to heat air for your home. Check filters at least twice during the heating season, and either clean or replace them. Also, check to see that heating vents are unobstructed so your system doesn’t overwork itself trying to get heat into your home. It’s also a good idea to have your entire system checked every year by a qualified heating contractor.
- Wear the layered look: Consider wearing layers of clothing inside the house. It will keep your body heat in and you won’t need to turn up the thermostat.