Winter Savings Tips
10 Ways to Save on Heating Bills
- Lower your thermostat to 68 degrees. Learn more about your thermostat online by visiting the U.S. Department of Energy website.
- Seal air leaks. Seal all holes from pipes and wires that enter/exit the living space. This includes entrances, pull-downs and attic stair openings, light fixtures, pipes and wires. Attic entryways should be weather stripped and insulated.
- Seal duct work. Make sure that all ductwork is sealed at joints and intersections with duct sealer or silicone caulk. Otherwise, supply ductwork can leak heated air into the attic or crawl space, and outside air can be drawn into the return ductwork, increasing costs and reducing comfort dramatically. Ducts can be sealed using foil-backed tape or silicon caulking.
- Lower water heater to 120-125 degrees. Many water heaters are automatically set at 140 degrees. Lowering the temperature on your water heater to between 120 and 125 degrees will reduce the amount of fuel needed to heat the water.
- Change furnace filters every month. This is the number one reason for furnace breakdowns. Inspect heating and cooling equipment annually, or as recommended by the manufacturer. Have a professional check and clean furnaces once a year.
- Weatherstrip doors and windows. Inspect windows and doors for air leaks. If you can see daylight around a door or window frame, then the door or window needs sealing. Air leaks can be sealed with caulking or weather-stripping.
- Insulate water pipes coming from the water heater. Insulate the first 3- to 6-feet of cold and hot water pipes near the water heater. Insulating all hot water pipes is not necessary where pipes are located in a crawlspace or attic.
- Add an insulation blanket to water heater. Wrapping the water heater with an insulation blanket can save heating money by slowing the drop in temperature from the hot water tank as it sits unused. Inexpensive insulation kits are available at most home improvement stores.
- Add insulation to attic. When adding insulation, start at the top and work down only after eliminating air infiltration.
- Decorating your house for the holidays? Use light-emitting diode (LED) holiday lights to cut down on the cost of energy usage. LED lights not only save energy but also last longer, and are more durable than other types of bulbs. View our holiday lighting calculator to see how much energy you’re using for your holiday lighting.
Tips for Gas Furnaces
Regular maintenance, along with periodic checkups by a licensed heating professional, are essential for continued safe and efficient operation of your furnace. But don't wait until the first cold snap hits to make sure your furnace is ready for winter.
Here are some simple steps you can perform, plus some things you can ask your contractor to do, to make sure your natural gas furnace will keep your home warm and comfortable all winter long.
- Clean or replace the filter. A clogged filter restricts the flow of heated air from your furnace, causing it to work harder and deliver less heat.
- Check the blower belt and oil the blower motor. Loose belts can increase furnace operating time. Replace frayed or cracked belts. Two or three drops of oil in the motor will keep it running smoothly. (Sealed blower motors require no lubrication. If you have questions, check your owner's manual or call a heating professional.)
- Make sure blower doors are replaced properly. This keeps combustion byproducts such as carbon monoxide separate from the warm air circulated through your home.
- Check to see that vents in the house are unobstructed. Air in your home needs to circulate easily through the vents. Your furnace works less when heated air is not blocked and the cooler air can circulate back freely.
- Check the exhaust flue. Be sure the exhaust flue to the outside is clear of obstructions and in good condition from the furnace to the roof cap with all connections securely fastened. You can check it by removing the flue cap near the furnace and water heater and looking through the flue to the outside. Make sure you replace the flue cap securely. If the furnace or water heater are in an enclosed room or closet, make sure they get plenty of air. These appliances need ten cubic feet of air for one cubit foot of natural gas to operate properly. Furnace rooms or closets should have door louvers or vents or a duct directly to the outside to provide sufficient combustion air.
- Remove all flammable objects from around your furnace and water heater. Boxes, clothes, paints, aerosols, gasoline, motorized yard tools, and any other flammable products should not be stored near the furnace or water heater.