As jackets and mittens leave the closets this fall, be ready to cut the chill and your energy bill with these money-saving tips for autumn:
- Set your thermostat no higher than 68 degrees when you are home and lower the temperature when you go to bed or when you are not at home. This saves money and keeps you warm.
- During the day, open shades and curtains to allow solar heating. Close them at night to retain the day’s heat.
- Bundle up your home. Weatherize your home by caulking and weather stripping all doors and windows. Also use locks on your windows to make them tighter and draft resistant. Reducing air leaks could cut 10% from an average household’s monthly energy bill. The most common places where air escapes homes are: floors, walls, ceilings, ducts, fireplaces, plumbing penetrations, doors, windows, fans, vents and electrical outlets.
- Have your heating system serviced by a professional once a year.
- Check furnace filters. Be sure to clean or replace your heating and cooling system’s air filter. At a minimum, change the filter every three months; a dirty filter clogs the system, making the system work harder to keep you warm.
- Insulate or increase the amount of insulation in your attic, basement and outside walls. Also cover through-the-wall air conditioners to prevent cold air from leaking into your home.
- Don’t block your radiators or heating vents with furniture or draperies. Keep your radiators, registers and baseboard heaters free of dirt and dust. Close vents and doors in unused rooms.
- Close the fireplace damper when not in use.
- Turn your water heater down to 120 degrees to save money on your energy bill.
Want more ways to save? Take the home energy savings tour and see how little changes add up to big savings at www.TogetherWeSave.com.
Tune your furnace for fall
You can save energy this fall and winter by having your furnace serviced. Electric, gas and propane furnaces can go approximately three to five years between service calls and longer, if you change the filters regularly. Oil furnaces need to be serviced once a year, because they get dirty and need annual adjustment.
Changing filters regularly is one of the key maintenance tasks to keep any type of furnace running efficiently. Make sure you know where your furnace’s filter is located and what size it is. Inspect it periodically, and replace it when it is dirty. How frequently you need to change the filter depends on the amount of dirt in the house and around the furnace and also how much time the furnace runs.
Duct air leakage is one of the largest energy-wasters in your heating system. Heating contractors can check your ducts for air leakage and seal the largest leaks. Contractors start by sealing the larger joints near the furnace, and then work out toward the branch ducts as access allows. Believe it or not, duct tape is not a good choice for sealing ducts because its adhesive usually fails after a short time. Duct mastic, available in cans or buckets, is an effective and permanent material for sealing air leaks in ducts.