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Maximize your heating system's performance, safety and energy savings with these pointers!
Cold Weather Conservation Tips
- Let the sun shine in. Windows on the south side of the house get the most sunlight. Eastern windows get sunlight in the morning. West facing windows receive sunlight in the afternoon. Open shades and drapes during the daytime and close when the sun goes down.
- Correct air leaks around windows, doors and electrical outlets.
- Repair weather stripping and caulking.
- Keep radiators free of dust for top efficiency.
- Change or clean your heating systems filter monthly during heating season to improve efficiency.
- Make sure your ceiling has at least six inches of good thermal insulation.
- Wrap your pipes, to guard against heat loss and prevent them from freezing.
- Get a heating system tune-up - it'll ensure you get maximum performance from every drop of heating oil burned. In fact a poorly serviced system can cost you as much as 20% a year.
- Close your kitchen vent, fireplace damper and closet doors when not in use.
- Install glass doors on the fireplace for added insulation and reduced heat loss.
- Purchase a humidifier. Dry, indoor air evaporates moisture from your skin making you feel cold and, causing you to turn up the heat and, therefore, use extra energy. Installing a humidifier will improve your home's air quality and help you conserve energy.
Warm Weather Conservation Tips
- Keep drapes, blinds and shades closed during the day to block out the sun.
- Clear furniture away from air conditioning vents.
- Install an attic fan - it can cool your attic by nearly 30 degrees!
- Cook on the grill to keep cooking heat outside the home.
- Install reflective window coatings to reflect heat away from your home.
- Plant shade trees to shade your house from the sun during the summer - it could save up to 8% on cooling costs.
- Change or clean your air conditioning filter monthly during cooling season to improve efficiency and the life of your air conditioner.
- Use ceiling fans to cool your home - they're much cheaper to operate than air conditioners, and moving air feels cooler, so you can keep your thermostat setting higher.
- Open windows on cool summer days and nights. A good rule of thumb is not to open windows when the outside temperature is warmer than the inside of your house.
- Keep the coils of your central or window air conditioner free of dust and dirt.
Year-Round Conservation Tips
- Close off rooms you don't use - and remember to shut the vents inside.
- Use compact fluorescent lights. They last up to 10-13 times longer than standard bulbs and use 75% less energy.
- Install dimmer switches. In addition to enhancing the mood, they'll extend the life of your bulbs and help you save up to 60% on your lighting costs.
- According to the U.S. Department of Energy, homeowners can save as much as 10% a year on their energy cooling bills by simply turning the thermostat back by 10 to 15 degrees.
- Get an automatic setback or programmable thermostat, which, when used properly, can shave $100 off your annual energy bills.
- Fix leaky faucets, especially hot water faucets. One drop per second can add up to 165 gallons per month - more than a person uses in two weeks.
- Take showers instead of baths. A five-minute shower will use about 7.5 gallons of hot water; filling a bathtub can use up to 20 gallons.
- Don't leave the fridge door open! Every time you do, up to 30% of the air inside can escape. The same can be said for your oven.
- Use less water and use cooler water when doing laundry. The warm or cold water setting on your machine will generally do a good job of cleaning your clothes. Switching your temperature setting from hot to warm can cut a load's energy use in half.
- Consider air-drying clothes on clothes lines or drying racks. Air-drying is recommended by clothing manufacturers for some fabrics.
- Turn your water heater down to the lowest setting while on vacation.