$ave on Energy Costs This Winter
Tips from R.C. Enterprise, Inc.
Use These Tricks of the Trade to Save on Energy this Season
Install a Programmable Thermostat
A programmable thermostat allows you to preset temperatures for different times of the day because you don't need to keep your home at 68 degrees around the clock. Although one shouldn't be used with heat pumps, a programmable thermostat is a real money-saver with air-conditioning as well as with heat. Choose a setting on the low end when you're sleeping or are away and go with a higher setting at other times (see table bellow) for savings of between 10 and 20 percent of your bill. Some units can store up to four temperature settings each day — e.g., morning, day, evening and night. All have a manual override switch.
6 a.m. to 9 a.m. = 68 degrees
9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. = 60 degrees
5:30 to 11 p.m. = 68 degrees
11 p.m. to 6 a.m. = 60 degrees
Move Furniture Away From Vents, Registers, and Radiators
This sounds like a no-brainer, but many times a couch, chair, or bed moved during the summer stays there in winter, blocking the flow of heat into the room. This wastes money and leads to cold rooms. With a forced-air system, blocking a supply or return vent can cause a house-wide pressure imbalance that disrupts the heat flow in the whole system.
Change Your Furnace Filter
If you have a forced-air system, changing the furnace filter can save you some energy (up to 5 percent) and keep dust down in the house. The system will last longer and be less likely to break down. The most popular 16 X 20-inch duct filter costs around 50 cents when bought by the box. Change them monthly during heating season. Measure your air filter before shopping; they range in size from 12 X 12 inches to 30 X 30 inches. An alternative to swapping out the replacement filter is to use washable filters (around $20 each). With care, they can last five years.
Cost: Under $15 per year
Adjust Your Water Heater
You use more hot water in winter. Lower the water heater temperature from 140 degrees to 120 degrees. And take showers, not baths. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the average bath consumes up to 25 gallons of hot water, while a five-minute shower uses up much less — only around 10 gallons. Equipping your showers with low-flow showerheads also dramatically reduces the consumption of water, both hot and cold.
Lower the Thermostat
Each degree you lower the thermostat on your heating system decreases your fuel bill by 3 percent. Going from 72 degrees down to 68 degrees doesn't matter much in terms of comfort, but it can save up to 12 percent on your heating bill. (All temperatures in this article are in degrees Fahrenheit.)
If you're using a coil-type thermostat, you'll get more accurate readings if you clean it. Pop off the thermostat cover and blow or gently swipe away the dust.
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