You can save on heating costs by making energy-smart improvements and easy adjustments to your household routine.
Here are eight ways to stay warm this winter while spending less green:
1. Seal out drafts: Eliminate air leaks and drafts around the house, and you’ll trim save on heating costs by up to 20 percent. Sealant, caulking and weatherstripping are all easy to use.
2. Insulate heating ducts: Keep the warmth of your forced-air heating system moving in the right direction by sealing and insulating ductwork. Pay special attention to ductwork in unheated areas like attics, crawlspaces and garages, giving it a wrap with insulation that has an R-Value of 6 or higher.
3. Schedule a tune-up: Natural gas, propane or oil heating systems create combustion deposits when they burn that build up and can make the system both unsafe and inefficient. Get the most out of your heating equipment by having it serviced at least once a year by a qualified professional.
4. Clean furnace filters: Dirty filters slow air flow and make your heating system work harder, so ensure efficient delivery by checking and changing filters monthly during the heating season.
5. Program for warmth: Save on heating costs by installing a programmable thermostat and setting it to conserve heat while you’re away from home, then warm things up before you return.
6. Trim the cost of heating water: Keep your hot water heater’s temperature at 110 degrees, and insulate the tank according to manufacturer instructions. Check out the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Saver Guide for more details.
7. Get free heat: During the day, open shades and curtains on west- and south-facing windows to usher in the sun’s natural warmth, then close them once night falls.
8. Reach for the star: Make energy-efficient choices for your home by looking for the Energy Star label as you shop for appliances, lighting, electronics, windows, doors and more.