Now is the time to start thinking about saving on your heating costs. According to David Nowlin, owner of Climate Right, “It is estimated that up to 70 percent of the average home’s energy use is due to heating and cooling.” He offers the following money-saving reminders that consumers can implement today to insulate themselves against winter energy costs—with little impact on their wallet or checkbook.
Lower your thermostat. The Department of Energy estimates a 10 percent annual savings just by reducing your thermostat 10 to 15 percent for eight hours a day. You can even purchase programmable thermostats that will do this for you while you’re at work or asleep.
Air dry dishes.
This works whether you’re using a dishwasher or doing your dishes by hand. Only wash full loads; this applies to dishes and clothing.
Change central unit filters.
While it seems minor, the impact of not changing your central unit filters results in overworked components and increased energy costs. We recommend you change your filters once every month for optimal efficiency performance.
Check your dryer vent.
You want one that has louvers and allows the vent to close. Otherwise, you've created an automatic entry for cold drafts.
Reduce your hot water heater thermostat.
The Department of Energy recommends that you lower your hot water heater to 120° F and take short showers versus baths.
Pay attention to appliances and computers.
Turn off computers and monitors when not in use. Close the refrigerator door quickly. And turn off oven vents as soon as possible.
Remove air conditioning units.
If removing your A/C unit is too difficult, purchase an insulated unit jacket for the exterior of your home.
Replace standard light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs)
or add dimmers to your traditional, full room lighting. A traditional bulb dimmed by a mere 10 percent uses 10 percent less energy and will last twice as long as one on full light.
Check your caulking.
Use latex or silicone caulk to seal air leaks around windows and doors. Also check the caulking on baseboards, trim, and around electrical outlets.
Keep flue damper tightly closed when fireplaces are not in use.
Failure to do so results in a steady stream of heat escape. Also make sure that the seal around the flue damper is snug.