RISMEDIA, February 13, 2010—The Alliance to Save Energy offers the following no-cost/low-cost energy efficiency tips for homeowners across the country who are looking to reduce their home heating costs while maintaining comfort.
Conduct a “draft check.” Your heating dollars could be going out your windows, doors and electrical outlets. Check for air leaks throughout your home; check around doors, windows, fixtures, electrical outlets, wiring, plumbing and fireplace dampers. Draft-proofing is the least expensive energy efficiency investment with the biggest payoff.
Plug those air leaks. Seal leaks between doors or windows and their frames with weather stripping and between window frames and walls with sealant or caulk.
Install door sweeps on the insides of exterior doors. Cold air can seep in under doors. Solution: Door sweeps are cheap and keep the draft out. No sweeps available? Even a rolled up towel or blanket will help. And consider twin or dual draft guards on both sides of doors where you feel drafts.
Open curtains and other window treatments on your west- and south-facing windows during the day to allow sunlight to naturally heat your home, and close them at night to make it harder for warm air to escape. If you are purchasing new drapes, consider an insulated lining, which reduces both heating and cooling bills.
Freezing by your windows? If that’s the case, and you’ve already plugged window leaks and can’t afford new high-efficiency windows, consider purchasing a kit containing sheets of plastic film to tape over the insides of your windows. Use a hair dryer to create a tight fit.
Consider insulating drafty electrical outlets. Use light switch foam insulation pads and wall jack foam insulation pads on outlets on colder exterior walls.
You’re not in the South Seas. Don’t turn up the heat so high that you can be comfortable dressed in a T-shirt and going barefoot. Even when indoors, dress for winter weather and layer clothing so that you can keep the thermostat at a reasonable yet comfortable temperature. It’s a good time to wear those sweaters you received as holiday gifts.
Consider a space heater for the room where you spend a lot of time. But keep in mind that this makes sense from an energy standpoint only if you reduce heating in other rooms.
Keep furnace filters clean. Check and change your filter every month during heavy-use winter months to assist air flow, so your system doesn’t have to work harder to keep you warm.
Seal your heating and cooling ducts. In a typical house with a forced air system, about 20% of the air that moves through the duct system is lost due to leaks, holes and poorly connected ducts. Sealing and insulating ducts increases their efficiency, lowers home energy bills and can often pay for itself in energy savings. Insulate ducts in unheated areas such as attics, crawlspaces and garages with duct insulation that carries an R-value of 6 or higher. Also, a well-designed and sealed duct system may make it possible to downsize to a smaller, less costly heating and cooling system that will provide better dehumidification.
Let a programmable thermostat “remember for you” to lower the heat while your home is empty and/or overnight to reduce heating costs by up to 10%- and allow you to come home and wake up to a toasty, comfortable house.
For more information, visit www.ase.org.