HEATING COSTS Tips to help

HEATING COSTS Tips to help
Heating costs can account for 25 to 50 percent of a home’s
total energy expense. Another 14 percent of a home’s energy
usage is used to heat water. Here are some tips to help you
manage your winter energy costs:
1. Set the thermostat at 68 degrees or the lowest temperature
you find comfortable. For every degree you lower the thermostat, you can gain as much as a three percent savings in
energy costs.
2. Clean your system’s filters periodically. A dirty system
deteriorates performance and increases operating time.
Filters should be changed every one to three months.
3. Use a programmable thermostat, which saves you money
by consistently turning up the thermostat when you’re
away. You may set different temperatures for your home
depending on whether you’re at work, at home, or in bed
at night.
4. Clean air registers, baseboard heaters and radiators as
needed. Keep heat vents open and unobstructed.
5. Place heat resistant radiator reflectors between exterior
walls and the radiators.
6. Check the insulation in your attic, ceilings, floors, exterior
and basement walls or crawlspace to make sure it’s at recommended levels for your area. If it’s not adequate, have
insulation professionally installed.
7. Insulate heating ducts to prevent heat loss. Insulating the
hot water heater and hot water pipes can also provide significant energy savings.
8. Keep heated air inside the home. Caulk and weather strip
around doors and windows, close the fireplace damper and
fill holes and gaps where wiring and pipes enter the house.
9. Use kitchen, bath and other ventilation fans only as long
as needed. In just one hour, these fans can pull out a
houseful of warmed air.
10. Maintain your equipment to prevent problems. To keep
your system at peak performance, maintenance should be
done annually by a professional.
11. Select energy-efficient equipment when you buy new heating and cooling equipment. Look for the Energy Star label.
12. Keep draperies and shades on your south-facing windows
open during the day to allow sunlight into your home.
13. If you have a gas or oil furnace, consider adding a highefficiency heat pump. It could save you a substantial
amount in heating (and cooling) costs.
By implementing these tips, you can keep your house warm
and save money on your heating costs.
Tips to help
manage costs
Set the thermostat at 68 degrees or the lowest temperature you find
comfortable. For every degree you lower the thermostat, you can gain as
much as a three percent savings in energy costs.
Energy Star
Certain telltale signs indicate it’s time to replace cooling equipment or improve parts of your system to enhance performance. It may be time to call a professional contractor to help
you make a change if:
1. Your heating equipment is 10 years old or more. New
Energy Star labeled equipment uses 25 to 40 percent less
energy than typical 10-year-old models.
2. Your equipment needs frequent repairs and your bills are
3. Your system turns on and off frequently. This can indicate
that your heating system is not the right size.
4. Some of your rooms are too hot or too cold. Improper
equipment operation or duct problems could be the cause.
5. Your home has humidity problems.
6. Your home has excessive dust. Leaky ducts can pull particles and air from attics and crawlspaces. Sealing your ducts
could be a solution.
7. Your cooling system is noisy.
Visit www.energystar.gov/coolchange to see if there are special
deals or financing on Energy Star labeled products available
from retailers, utilities or manufacturers in your area.
Make sure your contractor completes the following 10-point
maintenance checklist:
1. Check thermostat settings to ensure the system turns on
and off at the right temperature.
2. Lubricate all moving parts.
3. Tighten all electrical connections and measure voltage and
current on motors.
4. Check controls of the system to ensure proper and safe operation.
5. Ask your service technician how to change filters and how
to clean your outdoor coil. The filters should be changed
every one to three months and the outdoor coil should be
cleaned every year.
6. Check all gas or oil connections, gas pressure, burner combustion and heat exchanger. Improperly operating gas (or
oil) connections are a fire hazard and can contribute to
health problems. A dirty burner or cracked heat exchanger
causes improper burner operation. Either can cause the
equipment to operate less safely or efficiently.
Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (SEER)
SEER measures how efficiently a residential central cooling system (air conditioner or heat pump) will operate over an entire
cooling season, as opposed to a single outdoor temperature. A
higher SEER reflects a more efficient cooling system.
SEER is calculated based on the total amount of cooling (in
Btu) the system will provide over the entire season divided
by the total number of watt-hours it will consume. By federal
law, every central split cooling system manufactured or sold
in the U.S. today must have a seasonal energy efficiency ratio
of at least 10.0.
Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF)
HSPF is the measurement of how efficiently all residential
and some commercial heat pumps will operate in their heating mode over an entire normal heating season. The higher
the HSPF, the more efficient the system. HSPF is determined
by dividing the total number of Btu of heat produced over the
heating season by the total number of watt-hours of electricity
that is required to produce that heat.
High efficiency heat pump
Electric air source heat pumps, often used in moderate climates, use the difference between outdoor air temperatures
and indoor air temperatures to heat (or cool) your home.
Energy Star qualified heat pumps have a higher seasonal
energy efficiency rating (SEER) and heating seasonal performance factor (HSPF) than standard models, which makes
them about 20 percent more efficient than standard new models and about 20-50 percent more efficient than what you may
have in your home.
Though these products can be more expensive to purchase up front, the cost difference will be paid back over time
through lower energy bills.
When buying new equipment, sizing and installation are
as important as product quality. Make sure to find a good
Programmable thermostats
Programmable thermostats automatically adjust your home’s
temperature settings, allowing you to save energy while you’re
away or sleeping.
These thermostats are more convenient and accurate than
manual thermostats and they contain no mercury. They can
save you money on your electric bills.
If you are like many homeowners and work outside the
home during the day and have a different schedule on the
weekend, a programmable thermostat can offer many benefits.
The return on your investment is usually seen within one year.
John Krigger, Saturn Resource Management. www.srmi.biz. Author of numerous energy
efficiency books including Surviving the Seasons and Residential Energy: Cost Savings and
Comfort for Existing Buildings
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