Some Common Sense Ways to Save on Your Energy Bill
To save on your energy bill, first find the leaks in your house. Here’s how the DOE recommends you do it: On a cool, windy day, turn off your furnace, shut all the windows and doors, and turn on all your exhaust fans--including the ones in the bathrooms and your range hood in the kitchen. This will slightly depressurize your house and increase the airflow between the inside and outside. Then, light a stick of incense and move it over surfaces that might be a problem: along baseboards, around windows and doors, and along the sill plate in the basement. If there's an air leak, the smoke from the incense will either be drawn away or blown back into the room.
Your energy provider may offer an energy savings check up or audit for you at little or no charge. They may even install things like water saving shower heads and faucet aerators, insulation on hot water pipes, and more at no cost to you. You can usually find this information in your bill or on their website.
Below are some things you can do on your own:
Install a sweep to the inside bottom edge of your front door to eliminate drafts, and if you have a door that goes into an attached garage, install a sweep on that door too. Add weatherstripping to any sliding glass doors.
To reduce the amount of heat lost up the chimney when a fire isn’t burning, install a tight-fitting glass door unit over the fireplace opening. Close the fireplace damper when the fireplace is not in use.
Install foam gaskets behind drafty switch and receptacle cover plates.
Weatherstrip around the attic door or access hatch.
Using silicone caulk, caulk around the outside of the window frames and weatherstrip between the sash. These are the easiest and least expensive options to stop air infiltration. Better yet, replace single-glzed (single-pane) windows with double- or triple-glazed windows, which are up to five times as efficient.
Arrange your furniture so it doesn’t obstruct heat registers. For places you can’t leave open, add scoop-shaped heat deflectors to the tops of registers to force air from under furniture and into the room. Partially or completely close register dampers in rooms that are seldom used.
Install a programmable thermostat that lowers the temperature while you are sleeping or away at work. A reduction of just 7 or 8 degrees for 8 hours a day can cut heating costs by 10 percent.
Consider replacing your old furnace. Replace the furnace filter once a month during heating season. Hire an HVAC contractor or your fuel supplier to clean and tune up your furnace every two years. Cover heating duct joints with duct tape to prevent hot-air leaks.