Upgrade or Tune-Up Your Heating System
About 30% of the average home’s energy cost is for heating, but it can be much more if you use electric, gas, or oil heaters. Simply changing the air filter in your furnace and doing a quick diagnostic for inefficiency or carbon monoxide problems should be a priority.
Get an Energy Audit
Comfort and efficiency problems cannot always be solved by simply getting a new heat source. There are many different ways heat can escape from your home, so you should also investigate the performance and condition of your home’s shell and ductwork. A BPI certified home energy assessment will provide the information needed to save energy and cost when heating your home, and will often find problems you may have never noticed. Your utility company may offer discounted audits. Afterwards, be sure to follow up their given recommendations with professional upgrades or modifications.
Take Care of Your Windows
Don’t worry if you don’t have money for new equipment or if you rent your place. A new furnace may be ideal, but your existing windows and heating system may need only a little help to save you money and improve your comfort. A good set of insulating blinds can often double or triple your windows’ energy efficiency. An even cheaper solution is reflective bubble wrap foil. As a window cover, it can dramatically reduce radiant energy losses, which is what makes even a warm room feel cold to the skin. A plastic film can also help get you through the season, and storm windows are always a good idea. You can find more window insulation tips here.
Get a Programmable Thermostat
Even a fifteen-year-old furnace can still be reasonably efficient, but it can run even better with a programmable thermostat. These are inexpensive and easy to buy, but may not be so easy to operate to maximize efficiency. For that reason, many newer thermostats have and energy star button, and some will even learn how you like to heat your home and adjust themselves accordingly to keep you comfortable and still save you money.
Seal Up Air Leaks
The main reason heated rooms feel cold is air infiltration. Electrical boxes on the outside walls can often allow air to leak inside. Outlet and light switch gaskets are inexpensive, fairly easy to install, and can dramatically reduce the amount of cold air that is infiltrating your home. The same goes for outside doors and the attic hatch. Many contractors and NJ window professionals are also more than willing to help insulate your home if you don’t have the time or knowledge to take care of it on your own.