A few weeks ago, we gave you a primer on how your furnace works, and some tips on maintaining it. Hopefully by now you have called us to arrange for your fall heating tune up.
In the meantime, here are some tips on how to make your furnace work more efficiently, as well as some other things you can do to save on energy and energy bills this winter.
First, some things you can do to save energy by not making your furnace work so hard:
Turn down the thermostat. You reduce your energy bills by about 1% for each degree you set your thermostat down. Turn it down several degrees when you are sleeping or out of the house. If you are heading out of town, don’t set the thermostat any lower than 60 degrees or you risk freezing your pipes.
Invest in a programmable thermostat that will automatically adjust the temperature. Of course there are now internet accessible thermostats that let you remotely adjust the temperature from your phone or your tablet.
Reverse the direction of your ceiling fans so that they are going clockwise. That forces the warmer air down, allowing you to keep your thermostat set lower, and thus saving wear and tear on your furnace and lowering your energy bills.
Use weather-stripping, sealants, and/or caulk to plug leaks in doors and windows where cold air can sneak in (this will also prevent hot air from coming in during the summer). You can also cover the windows with plastic film; if you want to make a smart investment, install energy-efficient windows.
Keep your window shades open during the day. This will allow heat from the sun to raise the temperature in your home. Close shades at night to keep the heat from escaping.
If you have a fireplace, keep the damper closed unless there is a fire burning.
Now some general tips to save energy in the coming months:
Lower the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting (about 120 degrees).
When you hang your holiday light strings, use “LED” strings. They are more energy efficient.
Cover your hot water heater with jacket insulation.
Install low-flow shower heads and faucets.
Use the microwave whenever possible. It uses less energy than your oven.
This one may be hard to believe, but the dishwasher actually uses less water than washing dishes by hand. Of course, that works best when you wash full loads.
And of course, if you’re not using it, shut it off. This goes for everything from lights to televisions to computers.