The New England chill has started up again, and it’s time for consumers to think about staying warm this season without breaking the bank. No matter which method you use – oil, electric, natural gas, or wood – keeping the heat inside your home is the best way to avoid spending extra money.
Tips for avoiding drafts:
- Caulk or weather strip windows and doors;
- Seal air leaks, especially from heated space to the attic, and from outside to the basement;
- Install storm windows and doors;
- Insulate the attic, walls, basement, and crawl spaces;
- Insulate pipes or ducts in the basement leading from the heating furnace/boiler and the hot water heater;
- Keep the damper closed when your fireplace is not in use.
Tips to increase heat flow:
- Do an annual tune-up of your heating system;
- Clean and replace filters on furnace once a month or as needed;
- Clean warm-air registers, baseboards heaters, and radiators;
- Move furniture away from cold exterior walls to make sure vents are not blocked.
Another way to save money in the long-term is to use energy-efficient products. Talk to your utility company to see if they offer specific programs or subsidies for energy efficiency upgrades. Also check to see if they offer balanced billing programs so you can spread out the higher winter payments over the course of the year. Meanwhile, follow these tips to keep energy use down this winter.
Tips to increase energy efficiency:
- Install a programmable thermostat to automatically drop to a lower temperature at night and at times when you are away from your house;
- Lower your thermostat and wear socks and a sweater while indoors;
- Tape a sheet of aluminum foil (shiny side out) to the wall behind radiators;
- Keep the draperies and window shades open during the day to allow the sunlight to enter your home;
- Get a humidifier: moister air feels warmer, so a humidifier can help you feel comfortable even though your thermostat is set at a lower temperature;
- Install aerating, low-flow faucets and showerheads to save hot water;
- Do not use a traditional fireplace as supplemental heating: a fireplace sucks heated air out of your home to fuel the fire and exhausts it through the chimney, forcing your furnace to replace that warm air.
Check out http://www.masssave.com/ for more information on energy efficiency options for your home.