With energy costs on the rise, now is a great time to reduce heating costs with low-cost improvements that’ll keep you from spending a high amount of cash on heating bills. Here are tips to help keep heating bills down this season.
- Do windows: Make the most of passive solar energy by opening curtains and blinds during the day on east, south and west-facing windows to let the heat shine in. As the sun goes down, close them again to keep heat in and cold out.
- Landscape smarts: Beautiful landscaping with strategically positioned shade trees can help reduce both heating and cooling costs, saving up to 25 percent of a household’s energy consumption for heating and cooling. Maintain the health of the trees you have, and if you need to supplement your landscape plan, consult the local nursery regarding species that will provide ample shade during summer months and let the sunshine in during late fall and winter.
- Reverse spin: Ceiling fans’ reversible motors can spin indoor air into comfortable savings year-round, pulling cold air up in the summer and pushing warm heated air down in the winter. Add even more savings by installing and Energy Star-qualified model, which is up to 50 percent more energy efficient than a conventional ceiling fan.
- Seal in savings: No matter how efficient your heating and cooling equipment may be, leaky ducts and drafty doors and windows can be expensive escapes for your energy investment. Treat ductwork with duct sealant (mastic) or metal-backed tape (never duct tape, as it doesn’t have the required staying power) to seal all seams and connections, and follow with an insulation wrap. Then apply new weatherstripping to all windows and doors to reduce heating costs.
- Wall-to-wall comfort: When correctly installed, every type of insulation contributes to comfort and reduces energy bills. Its performance is measured by R-value, the ability to resist heat flow. The higher the value, the stronger the insulating power. R-value requirements vary for different areas of the home, and the climate you live in will determine overall needs. Refer to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Insulation Recommendations for more details on how much insulations you’ll need to reduce heating costs in your home.