It's easy to forget, but it's important to replace or clean furnace filters once a month during the heating season. Dirty filters restrict airflow and increase energy demand. Here's a worry-saving tip: Mark a monthly check on your calendar.
Also consider switching to a permanent filter, which will reduce waste and hassle. Did you know that disposable fiberglass filters trap a measly 10 to 40 percent of debris? Electostatic filters trap around 88% and are much better at controlling the bacteria, mold, viruses and pollen that cause illness and irritation. Another good choice is a genuine HEPA filter which can remove at least 99.97% of airborne particles. HEPA filters are based on Department of Energy standards. But avoid "HEPA-like" filters, which can be significantly less effective.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, drafts can waste 5 to 30 percent of your energy use. Start simple and adopt that old Great Depression fixture—the draft snake, which you can easily make yourself. Just place a rolled bath towel under a drafty door, or make a more attractive DIY draft snake with googly eyes, felt tongues and the like. You can use any scraps of fabric, even neckties, and fill with sand or kitty litter for heft.
Make sure drafts aren't giving your thermostat a false reading, too.
It's easy to forget to turn down the heat when you leave the building, but doing so is one of the surest ways to save money. Most households shell out 50% to 70% of their energy budgets on heating and cooling, so why pay for what no one uses?
For every degree you lower the thermostat during heating season, you'll save between 1% and 3% of your heating bill. Make it easier with a programmable thermostat. They are widely available for as little as $50, and the average family will save $180 a year with one.
Go a step further and ask your local utility if it's making smart meters available in your area as part of recent federal smart grid investments.
For just a few dollars, pick up a window insulation kit at your local hardware store. Don't worry, properly installed window plastic is essentially invisible. Adding a buffer against drafts and extra still air space can give a nice boost to your home's ability to hold heat. Check out our guide for winterizing drafty windows.
Save even more by hiring a pro to install a high-tech "low-e" film directly to the window glass.
Simple leaks can sap home energy efficiency by 5 to 30 percent a year, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. That means it pays to seal up gaps with caulking and weatherstripping.
Take a close look at places where two different building materials meet, such as corners, around chimneys, where pipes or wires exit, and along the foundation. Use the incense test: Carefully (avoiding drapes and other flammables) move a lit stick along walls. Where the smoke wavers, you have air sneaking in, and heating or cooling sneaking out.
In another method, have someone on the outside blow a hair dryer around each window while you hold a lighted candle inside. If the candle flickers or goes out, you need to caulk or weather strip around the frame.
Low-income households can qualify for an average of $6,500 worth of weatherization improvements to their homes through government programs administered by each state. Find out about your state's program by contacting local energy agencies.
Pay less for hot water by insulating pipes. That can also help decrease the chance of pipes freezing, which can be disastrous. Check to see if your pipes are warm to the touch. If so, they are good candidates for insulation. (Use the same method to determine if your hot water heater would benefit from some insulation.)
You can get pre-slit pipe foam at most hardware stores. Cut it to size and fasten in place with duct tape. Ideally, choose the insulation with the highest R-value practical, which is a measure of its heat-blocking power. Pipe insulation is often R-3, or, for batt styles that you wrap around, a stronger R-7.
Move even deeper into a home's infrastructure, and one encounters ductwork. Studies show 10 to 30 percent of heated (or cooled) air in an average system escapes from ducts.
Properly sealing ducts can save the average home up to $140 annually, according to the American Solar Energy Society. Plus, you'll have better protection against mold and dust.
For more information, contact Monnick supply in Marlborough and Framingham, MA.
135 Maple Street,
Call (508) 318-4788
Mon-Sat 7:00am to 5:00pm
759 Waverly Street,
Call (508) 386-9876
Mon-Sat 7:00am to 5:00pm