Reducing home heating bills
Thursday, 27 October 2011 by Keith Bahlmann
As the thermometer drops, the cost of heating your home will rise. But you can avoid a spike in your blood pressure with a few smart moves that will help you save on those energy bills.
The average American household spends at least $2,000 a year on energy bills — over half of which goes to heating and cooling, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star Program.
Luckily, there are several ways you can save on your energy bills this season:
• Install a programmable thermostat to help ensure that you do not forget to adjust the temperature in your home throughout the day. Regulating your thermostat can amount to real savings while keeping you warm during the winter months.
• When replacing appliances around your home remember to ask about natural gas models. Natural gas water heaters and other appliances are typically much more efficient than other versions and will help cut energy costs during the winter heating season.
• Make sure to have all furnaces, flues and chimneys in your home or business inspected every year by qualified industry professionals to ensure their efficiency and safety. These are items that will no doubt be kicked into gear during the cold winter months, so it's important they're all in working order when the temperatures drop.
• Keep the areas around all natural gas appliances clean and unblocked to allow for proper air flow.
• Don't forget to insulate your attic floor. Installation should be 16 to 24 inches deep in temperate climates. This simple home improvement will keep you warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.
• Look for the blue flame. If pilot lights and burners have a steady, blue flame, they are operating correctly. (Decorative gas fire logs are the only exception. Their flame is usually yellow.)
• Anytime you make changes to your home, from servicing a fuel-burning appliance to changing your windows, always have a licensed expert make sure that all your equipment is operating properly — safety is important all year round.
For more information on how you can save on home energy bills, visit www.comfortableresponsible.org.
Just a few of these changes will help reduce your impact on the planet — and your wallet.