12 Ways To Cut Your Home Heating Costs

By: Jamie Gerdsen Jamie Gerdsen

12 Ways To Cut Your Home Heating Costs

Because of high-energy costs, maintaining a moderate monthly bill can be a chore. Between air filters, fireplaces, vents, and grilles, there are lots of factors in heating your home. However, there are simple solutions for you and your family. By making easy, everyday changes, your energy bill can be kept at a low rate. The following tips can take the guesswork out of your thermostat and keep your home comfortable, too.

Tip 1: Set the Thermostat Properly
The most economical operation of your system comes from setting the thermostat properly. Set the thermostat at the lowest winter setting at which you are comfortable. Typical settings are 68 degrees for winter heating. When heating, your operating costs increase 3% to 8% for each degree your thermostat is raised.

Tip 2: Tune-Up Heating System Annually
Energy costs have increased up to 60% or more this year. One way you can minimize this increased expense is by having annual service done to your heating system. Studies show that homeowners having annual service to their systems spend an average of $30 less each month because of increased efficiency. Lack of regular maintenance is also the #1 cause of system breakdowns and costly repairs. Check out Apollo's Gold and Platinum Care Plans detailed on our web site under Residential-Maintenance Agreements.

Tip 3: Keep the Air Filter Clean
The easiest way to ensure your system operated efficiently is by keeping the air filter clean. There are several types of air filters and several possible locations for the air filter on your furnace. Ask Apollo's service technician next time he's out at your home to show you where your air filter is located and which type of air filter to use. If you have allergies, you should look at a pleated allergy filter or a media or electronic style air cleaner.

Tip 4: Keep Doors and Windows closed
Close all doors and windows to the outside (even garage doors). This will reduce the heating load in the winter, making your heating system operate more economically.

Tip 5: Keep Vents and Grilles Unobstructed
Arrange your furniture and drapes so that all output vents and intake grilles are free from obstruction. This will also reduce the heating load on your furnace and allow for more economical operation.

Tip 6: Avoid Excess Use of Exhaust Fans
Excessive use of kitchen or bathroom exhaust fans will make your system work harder. Keep energy costs in check by making wise use of exhaust fans.

Tip 7: Control Direct Sunlight
Let the sun in during the winter to reduce the load on your heating system. Open window shades and remove awnings to increase direct sunlight and reduce heating bills.

Tip 8: Keep Heat Away from the Thermostat
Make sure no heat-generating appliances are near your thermostat, including lamps, televisions, and stereo and computer equipment. Such heat-generating appliances can affect the setting of your thermostat and the efficiency of your heating system.

Tip 9: Keep an Air Tight House
Ensure maximum retention of heated air by adding insulation to outside walls and to the attic of your home. Seal cracks and use storm doors and windows and/or insulated doors and windows to prevent air leaks.

Tip 10: Department of Energy
Washington D.C. announced new energy tax savings for homeowners for 2006 and 2007. By upgrading your home's gas/oil furnace, boiler, heat pump or water heater, you could receive a tax incentive of up to $500. Call Apollo at 242-5522 for more information.

Tip 11: Weatherization
You can increase the comfort in your home while reducing your heating needs by up to 30% by investing just a few hundred dollars in proper insulation and weatherization products. Warm air leaking out of your home during fall/winter can waste a substantial portion of your energy dollars. One of the quickest dollar-saving tasks you can do is caulk, seal and weather strip all seams, cracks, and openings to the outside. You can save 10% or more on your energy bills by reducing the air leaks in your home.

Tip 12: Fireplaces
Next time you cozy up to a crackling fire on a cold winter day, remember that wood-burning or masonry fireplaces are one of the most inefficient heat sources you can use. Fireplaces literally send your energy dollars right up the chimney in volumes of warm air escaping your home and cold air in return. If you use your conventional fireplace while your central heating system is on, use Apollo's other Fall/Winter seasonal tips to help reduce energy losses. Remember to close the damper only after the ashes are cool and not smoldering any longer.

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Jamie Gerdsen is author of article written on heating expenses & energy efficiency. For more information, please visit :www.apollo-hvac.com

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