Winter Energy-Saving Tips
For those months when the temperatures are cold and your home utilizes its heating unit, be sure to:
- 1. REDUCE HEATING COSTS: Keep your thermostat at the lowest comfortable temperature. From 68 to 70 degrees is recommended. Homeowners can save about $180 a year by properly setting their programmable thermostats and maintaining those settings. Set the temperature down at night or while you are gone for the day. (4 degrees with a heat pump and 8 degrees with a furnace. If you have a heat pump, adjust your thermostat in I - degree increments to avoid the operation of the unit's emergency heat strip. Use of this heat strip greatly increases your energy usage.
- 2. SEAL AIR LEAKS: Is your home sealed tight and draft free? Drafts can increase your heating bill by 20 percent.
- 3. USE LESS HOT WATER: Adjust the temperature setting on your water heater to 120 degrees. Insulate the tank and hot water pipes.
- 4. LIMIT USE OF ELECTRIC SPACE HEATERS: 1,500-watt space heater used only five hours a day would use about 155 kWH per month, or about $28.
- 5. SPARE FRIDGE OR FREEZER? If not kept full, it should be emptied and unplugged until needed. Refrigerators and freezers are not designed to be kept in cold or hot areas like a garage.
Here are some other suggestions for saving energy this winter:
- Heat Pumps should have programmable thermostats with the "Adaptive Recovery / Smart Recovery" feature. This feature allows the Heat Pump to ramp up gradually to the desired temperature, which minimizes the chance that the auxiliary strip heat will come on.
- Is your heating system working properly? Have your heating system serviced annually.
- Check your filters monthly and when dirty. Dirty filters make the system work harder.
- Don't block your heat supply or return air vents with furniture or other objects.
- Don't block your outside heating unit or stack anything on or against the heat pump.
- Check your heating system's ductwork. Ensure that it is well insulated, has no kinks or tight bends and has no holes or has become disconnected. Leaky ductwork can increase your heating bill by 30 percent.
- Remove window air-conditioning units during winter months to prevent heat from escaping through and around the unit. If it cannot be moved, buy an inexpensive cover to prevent drafts.
- Make sure your fireplace damper seals tightly and remains closed except when a fire is burning or smoldering in the fireplace. Be aware that open hearth fireplaces send more heat from the house up the chimney than there is heat sent into the room by the fire.
- Open drapes and curtains to let the sun in during the day to reduce heating costs.
- Check all your windows and doors to be sure they seal tightly when closed.
- Is your home's insulation up to current standard? Is some missing or compressed? There should be about 13" or R-38 in attics, R-15 for walls and 6" or R-19 in crawl space floors.
- Do not run ceiling fans in the winter. Moving air has a chilling effect and will make the room feel cooler.