Despite a late-season comeback by summer this year, cooler autumn weather will eventually make its way to Montgomery and Bucks counties – and with it will come the first heating bills of the season.
If you want to keep those bills as low as possible, try these great bang-for-your-buck energy efficiency hacks:
Free efficiency fixes
Let the sun in – Open curtains and blinds during the day to absorb solar heat, then close them at night to keep that heat in.
Adjust the thermostat on your water heater – Water heater thermostats can have a default setting of 130 to 140 degrees – hotter than needed for most household cleaning tasks. Try lowering it to 120 degrees.
Use a cold-water wash – A typical laundry load is about 30 gallons. Why pay to heat all that water if you can use a detergent that’s been designed to clean clothes at any temperature?
Reverse your ceiling fan – The rotation of most ceiling fans can be reversed with the push of a button; set yours to push rising warm air back into the room during the fall and winter.
Moderate cost-efficiency fixes
Install a programmable thermostat – A programmable thermostat can help you save 10 percent on your heating bills, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Make sure to set it for a sensible temperature, too: aim for 68 degrees to get the best balance of comfort and efficiency.
Weatherize – Air leaks around doors and windows can cost you plenty over the course of a heating season – not just in lost heat, but also in wear and tear on your furnace or boiler as it struggles to keep your home warm. Caulking, weather sealing, and doorsweeps are cheap, effective ways to minimize air leaks.
Boost your insulation – Most Pennsylvania homes – especially older ones – are under-insulated. A one-time investment in proper insulation can cut your energy bills by up to 10 percent year after year. Check out these DOE insulation tips and guidelines.
Replace single pane windows – If your budget allows, consider upgrading to Energy Star™ rated windows. You’ll have fewer drafts, which will take some of the pressure off your heating equipment.
Replace your old heating system – Most of today’s high-efficiency home comfort equipment performs significantly better than older equipment – especially if that equipment hasn’t been properly maintained. If you’re replacing a 10-year-old system, your heating bill might drop 25 percent or more – enough to offset the investment in a new unit in just a few years.