Even though the price of fuel has gone down somewhat, don’t expect your heating bills to necessarily do the same! You may try to think of a big way to save on your bills but you should really concentrate on maximizing the energy efficiency of your home. This is the best way to realize overall savings, not only on your heating bill but your entire electric bill once summer hits and the air conditioner comes on.
Whether you are building a new home, remodeling an old one or just want to make do with what you have, there are a number of easy ways to increase energy efficiency. Some of the options include major home improvement projects, and while you may be out of cash upfront, you will realize great savings for years to come. Consider boosting your energy efficiency as a way of helping the environment. If you can slash your heating bills, you are reducing your reliance on fossil fuels for energy. Here are a few ways to save:
1. Adjusting your thermostat is the first line of defense. When you are not at home, lower your thermostat a few degrees and then bump it back up when you are home. Invest in a programmable thermostat so you can program your temperature settings and not have to worry about constant adjustments.
2. Replace Older Heating Systems. Most heating systems are guaranteed to work for about 15 to 20 years although some are quite older. Of course, the older a heating system is, the less efficient it will be. If you can afford it, replace your old heating unit with some more efficient that carries an Energy Star rating label which signifies over 90% efficiency. When you cannot afford a new unit, conduct some preventative maintenance on your old one to prolong its usefulness and increase efficiency. Check the air filters; bleed trapped air from the lines; check for soot and dust build-up and clean when necessary … anything you can do to prevent a breakdown will help with efficiency. Be sure to check the air ducts for any holes and repair them.
3. Repair or replace windows. Many windows in older homes may produce a draft around the window frame or sash. Replace old caulking and weather stripping around the frames. If you can afford it, replace the old windows with new energy-efficient windows that have a low U-value and a high R-value. Basically, this means the windows serve to insulate the home keeping the home temperatures in – not letting heat or cold air escape – as well as not allowing the outside temperatures to intrude inside the home.
4. Check your doors. Many doors allow heat to escape and cold temperatures to seep in. You might have to replace weather stripping and do some caulking around the door frames, much like you would do with the windows.
There are a number of ways to improve the energy efficiency in your home so you can slash your heating bills in the winter. The basics of checking windows, doors, heating systems and your thermostat are just the first few lines of defense. Consider asking your electric or gas company (whichever provides the heat in your home) to inspect your home inside and out to bring to your attention the different areas that could use some repair in the energy efficiency department.