The following are some tips for keeping home heating costs down this winter:
· Test your furnace or have a qualified service technician perform an inspection on heating equipment and make necessary repairs. Clean the unit and replace any related filters, if needed.
· Inspect your windows and doors for proper weather seals. Minimizing air gaps keeps heating bills down. Also, fill small openings around television cables, dryer vents and plumbing pipes.
· In winter, open window shades on sunny days to help warm rooms. Close them to keep heat in during the night.
· Install a programmable thermostat. This type of thermostat will automatically change the settings at certain times of the day.
· Keep your fireplace damper closed unless a fire is going. Keeping the damper open is like keeping a 48-inch window wide open during the winter; it allows warm air to go right up the chimney.
·v If you never use your fireplace, plug and seal the chimney flue.
· When using the fireplace, reduce heat loss by opening dampers in the bottom of the firebox (if provided) or opening the nearest window slightly approximately 1 inch and close doors leading into the room. Lower the thermostat setting to between 50 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
· Check floors, heating ducts, water pipes and hoses for leaks, and seal them with weather stripping, sealants or pipewrap.
· Use compact fluorescent light bulbs, which use a lower wattage and don’t heat up. They offer the same amount of light at a fraction of the cost.
· Set hot-water heaters at 120 F. For each 10-degree reduction in water temperature, water heating energy can be reduced from 3 to 5 percent.
Some of these tips were provided by the U. S. Department of Energy’s Web site www.eere.energy.gov/ consumersinfo/energy_savers and “Energy Savers: Tips on Saving Energy and Money at Home,” a guide printed by Owens Corning and Honeywell.
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