Did you know as much as half of the energy used in your home goes to heating and cooling? Here are a few general tips to help save energy this winter.
- Set your home’s thermostat at the coolest level you can without making your rooms uncomfortable. For most homes, the heating bill drops by about 2 percent for every 1 degree the thermostat is lowered.
2. Lower your home’s thermostat at bedtime or while you’re away during the day. (See Tip #7.) Setting the thermostat to 58 degrees while you’re asleep (you may need an extra blanket!) can cut your natural-gas bill by up to 7 percent.
3. Seal up leaky drafts around doors and windows with weather-stripping, caulking, and door sweeps. (And don’t forget to keep the damper closed on a fireplace or wood-burning stove when it’s not in use.) Also seal up any leaks or gaps in furnace ducts that extend through unheated basements or crawl spaces.
4. Have your furnace inspected and tuned up (before the heating season starts), and clean or replace the air filters on your furnace every two months during the heating season. Your furnace will run more efficiently and use less energy.
5. Set your water heater’s thermostat to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Lowering it from a higher setting will save you money and reduce the risk of being scalded.
6. Take shorter showers, wash clothes in cold water, and don’t over-dry your clothing.
7. Install a programmable thermostat for home heating. It can save lots of energy while you’re sleeping or away from home – and will re-warm your house shortly before you wake up or return home from work.
8. Replace traditional, incandescent lighting with Energy Star® compact fluorescent bulbs and fixtures (especially in the lights you use most).
9. Make sure you have adequate insulation in your home’s attic and walls, and around heating ducts that pass through unheated spaces.
10. Purchase an Energy Star® rated high-efficiency furnace, water heater, washer/dryer, and dishwasher when it’s time to replace worn-out models.