Four Tips for Keeping Heating Costs Down This Winter
With the prices for gas, oil, and electricity continuing to soar across the country, consumers are facing another winter of high heating bills. According to the National Energy Assistance Directors' Association, the average cost of home heating is estimated to increase by 17.2% this season.1 Here are some tips to help you keep your heating costs down.
Have your heating system serviced. Make sure that your heating system is working properly by having it serviced by a professional every year. In addition, keep your furnace filter, air registers/vents, baseboard heaters, and/or radiators clean and free of dust and debris in order to ensure that your heating system is operating at maximum efficiency.
Keep the heat in. To prevent heat from escaping your home, inspect windows and doors for air leaks and apply weather stripping, caulking, and/or spray foam around drafty areas. Make sure that all areas of your home are properly insulated, especially attics, basements, crawl spaces, and outside walls. If you have a fireplace, keep the damper closed when it's not in use and refrain from using it on extremely cold nights. Leave window curtains, shades, and blinds open during the day to allow sunlight in to warm your home, and close them at night to retain the heat inside your home.
Turn down your thermostat. Turning down your thermostat even just a few degrees can help you save on your heating bills. According to the Department of Energy, during winter months you should set your thermostat to 68 degrees when you are at home and awake and set it lower when you go to sleep at night or are away from home. To make it easier, you can install a programmable thermostat that allows you to preprogram your heat to a lower temperature at certain times of the day. For optimum temperature control, there are also smart thermostats that allow you to remotely control the temperature in your home directly from a smart phone or computer.
Schedule a home energy assessment. A home energy assessment is conducted by a home energy professional and usually involves a room-by-room examination of your home and past utility bills. A professional energy assessment provides detailed tips on how you can heat your home more efficiently and save money on your energy bills. Some utility companies will cover the cost of a professional energy assessment or offer discounts. Contact your utility company or visit energy.gov for more information.