'Tis the season … to be concerned about heating bills. Conserving fuel not only helps the environment, but also can potentially save you money. Here are some handy tips to help you do just that.
Did you know that you could save as much as 10% on your heating bill by reducing drafts in your home? Seal gaps along baseboards, add weatherstripping to windows and doors, and install rubber gaskets behind outlets and switch plates on exterior walls to help conserve heat. Another efficiency saver: Installing storm windows can save 25% to 50% on energy loss through single-pane windows.1
A big heat drain: Your home can lose up to 60% of its heat before it reaches the register if your ducts aren't insulated and they travel through unheated areas. Seal air leaks by using heat-approved tape (look for the Underwriters Laboratories logo). Then, insulate ducts in unheated areas. Tip: Be sure a well-sealed vapor barrier exists on the outside of insulated cooling ducts to prevent moisture buildup. (When doing duct work, consider seeking the advice of a professional.)1
Simple Ways to Save
There are even easier ways to save heat -- and money. For example, open drapes during the day to let heat in and close them at night to keep cold out. Think you could manage with a slightly cooler inside temperature? Turning the thermostat down 10% to 15% when sleeping can result in as much as 10% savings. Put it on autopilot by installing an automatic thermostat.1 Tip: Many utilities offer rebates for installing a programmable thermostat.
Though a fireplace is cozy, be sure to close the damper once the fire is safely out -- leaving it open allows warm air to escape. Finally, check that drapes, furniture, or appliances aren't blocking heating registers or vents.
All of these little steps could add up to big savings. Why not take some of that new-found money and put it toward your retirement nest egg? You can find other energy saving tips on the U.S. Department of Energy's Web site at www.energy.gov.
1 Source: U.S. Department of Energy, 2011.
LPL Tracking# 1-513261