Here are some thoughts on how to lower heating bills without freezing through the winter.
1. Energy Audit
The first step is to assess any problem areas. Ask if your utility company provides a free or low-cost energy audit, which will identify changes you should make. If such audits aren’t available, there are still ways to ascertain problems for yourself and small projects you can accomplish without professional help.
2. Seek Incentives
Some states offer improvement incentives, including providing and installing a free programmable thermostat; paying a portion of insulation upgrades; or providing rebates on the cost of materials. Look offers at http://dsireusa.org/. If you can’t find an applicable program, you can reduce the cost of supplies by finding coupons for major home improvement centers, hardware stores, big-box stores and more at such sites as CouponSherpa.
3. Change Furnace Filters
Many of us think of changing our furnace filters just once or twice a year, yet experts say we should replace them every month during the heating season. Better yet, switch to a permanent filter you can clean regularly.
4. Dodge the Draft
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you can waste 5 to 30 percent of your energy use to heat the great outdoors through drafts. The simplest remedy is to place draft dodgers or snakes at leaking doors. You can use an old towel or stuff a a leg of pantyhose with rice or sawdust and tie both ends. To find air leaks, place a light candle in front of possible drafts, have someone blow through the crack from the other side, and watch for the flame waver.
5. Weather Strip Thresholds
We often lose heat at the sides and top of doors and windows as well. The video at www.dummies.com/how-to/content/how-to-install-weather-stripping.html explains how to install weather strips.
6. Install a Programmable Thermostat
A programmable thermostat allows you to keep the house cooler when it’s empty and automatically turn up the heat before you arrive at home or get up in the morning. The Nest Learning Thermostat represents the latest in programmable thermostat technology, but you don’t need to shell out $249 to benefit from one of these gadgets. For as little as $20 you can save an average of 10 percent a year on heating and cooling bills. The article at http://mommysmemorandum.com/6-hightech-tips-keeping-warm-winter/ for other high-tech give ideas.
7. Upgrade Attic Insulation
Roofs are energy vampires. They’ll suck rising heat right out of your home, if not properly insulated. Types of insulation include the standard fiberglass (in both batting and blown forms), rigid foam board, spray foam and cellulose. Unless you’re handy around the house, this is a project best left to professionals, but it’s the best investment you can make to reduce future energy bills.