Tips to Save on Heating Costs

Heating costs can account for 25 to 50 percent of a home’s total energy expense. Use these tips to manage your cold weather energy costs:

  1. Set the thermostat at 68 degrees or the lowest temperature you find comfortable. For every degree you lower the thermostat, you can gain as much as a three percent savings in energy costs.
  2. Clean your system’s filters periodically. A dirty system deteriorates performance and increases operating time. Filters should be changed every one to three months.
  3. Use a smart or programmable thermostat to set different temperatures for your home depending on whether you’re at work, at home or in bed at night.
  4. Clean air registers, baseboard heaters and radiators as needed. Keep heat vents open and unobstructed.
  5. Place heat resistant radiator reflectors between exterior walls and the radiators.
  6. Check the insulation in your attic, ceilings, floors, exterior and basement walls or crawlspace to make sure it’s at recommended levels for your area. If it’s not adequate, have insulation professionally installed.
  7. Insulate heating ducts to prevent heat loss. Insulating the hot water heater and hot water pipes can also provide significant energy savings.
  8. Keep heated air inside the home. Caulk and weather strip around doors and windows, close the fireplace damper and fill holes and gaps where wiring and pipes enter the house.
  9. Use kitchen, bath and other ventilation fans only as long as needed. In just one hour, these fans can pull out a houseful of warmed air.
  10. Maintain your equipment to prevent problems. To keep your system at peak performance, maintenance should be done annually by a professional.
  11. Select energy-efficient equipment when you buy new heating and cooling equipment. Look for the Energy Star label.
  12. Keep draperies and shades on your south-facing windows open during the day to allow sunlight into your home.

Certain telltale signs indicate it’s time to replace cooling equipment or improve parts of your system to enhance performance. It may be time to call a professional contractor to help you make a change if:

  1. Your heating equipment is 10 years old or more. New Energy Star labeled equipment uses 25 to 40 percent less energy than typical 10-year-old models.
  2. Your equipment needs frequent repairs and your bills are increasing.
  3. Your system turns on and off frequently. This can indicate that your heating system is not the right size.
  4. Some of your rooms are too hot or too cold. Improper equipment operation or duct problems could be the cause.
  5. Your home has humidity problems.
  6. Your home has excessive dust. Leaky ducts can pull particles and air from attics and crawlspaces. Sealing your ducts could be a solution.
  7. Your cooling system is noisy.