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10 Tips to Save Money On Heating

Indiana winters are brutal. While there is no way around the need to heat our homes in
the winter, there are several ways to save on unnecessary heat and energy loss. Some of
these tips are simple things you can do on your own, while others require a contractor.

1.    Set your water heater to about 120 degrees- Most homes have their water
       heaters set near to 140 degrees. By reducing the temperature of your water heater,
       you can save up to 15% on your water heating expenses.

2.    Don’t let heat escape unnecessarily- Keep doors & windows shut, close your
       fireplace flue & doors, insulate your home, and caulk and seal your windows and
       doorframes. If you think you might have a leaky window or doorframe, test out
       the area with a candle. Simply light a candle and hold it in front of the window
       and door areas. If the candle flickers and moves, you have identified an area
       where heat is escaping and cold air is coming in.

       Another take on this is to keep heat in that you are already generating. When you
       are done baking, leave your oven door open a little bit. Open the bathroom door
       when you get out of the shower or bath. You will be surprised how much heat
       will spread.

3.    Be strategic about your windows: Curtains and blinds should be open on cold
       but sunny days to take advantage of the warming of the Sun’s rays. On gray days
       and at sunset, close the curtains and blinds. This will prevent some of the heat
       loss through windows. Deciduous trees planted on the east and west sides of your
       home are also a great way to reduce heat loss and increase the Sun’s warming
       rays into your home. The leaves provide a barrier from the hot rays during the
       summer months, and they fall away in time to allow the rays in during the
       winter months.

4.    Maintain the humidity level in your home: When your home’s air is too dry,
       your furnace has to work a lot harder to maintain what feels to us like comfortable
       heat. When the air is at the optimal level of moisture, your furnace doesn’t have to
       work as hard to leave your home feeling warm and cozy.

5.    Change your air filter regularly: Check your filter every month, especially
       during heavy use months (winter and summer). If the filter looks dirty after a
       month, change it. At a minimum, change the filter every 3 months. A dirty filter
       will slow down airflow and make the system work harder to keep you warm or
       cool, wasting energy. A clean filter will also prevent dust and dirt from building
       up in the system, leading to expensive maintenance and/or early system failure.

6.    Seal your heating and cooling ducts: Ducts are often big energy wasters.
       Sealing and insulating ducts can improve the efficiency of your heating and
       cooling system by up to 20%.

7.    Tune up your HVAC equipment yearly: This works a lot like tuning up your
       car. When your car is well maintained, you get better gas mileage and a longer
       running vehicle. A yearly clean and check of your heating and cooling system
       will save you money on your monthly bills, and it will help keep your system run
       better and last longer.

8.    Install a programmable thermostat: These are ideal for people who are away
       from home during set periods of time. Proper use of a pre-programmed thermostat
       can save you over $150 a year in energy costs. Whenever you can lower your
       thermostat drastically for a few days or more, you will save on the operation of
       your refrigerator and freezer as well. They don’t have to work as hard to maintain
       their cooler temperature.

       Try reducing the heat in your home one degree at a time. For each one degree
       drop for 8 hours, you reduce your heating bill by up to 1%. You may even want to
       turn down your thermostat 5-10 degrees at night. If you can bundle up and handle
       a cooler night, you can save up to 5-10% of your heating bill. Those savings will
       more than pay for a few extra blankets.

       * It is a common myth that when you reduce the thermostat for a few hours
       your furnace will have to work harder to bring your heat back up to the right
       temperature. You will use less energy overall even when you warm up your house
       from a cooler temperature.

9.    Match your system for optimal efficiency: An additional factor that affects
       the efficiency of your heating and cooling system is the indoor coil. This is also
       called the evaporator coil. In order to maximize the SEER and HSPF ratings and
       get maximal performance, your heat pump and air conditioner should be matched
       with the correct indoor coil.

10.  Consider investing in a high-efficiency HVAC system: If your furnace is
       approaching or past 15 years old, consider investing in new equipment. The loss
       of efficiency of older, inefficient systems is showing up monthly in your bill. You
       would be surprised how quickly a new, high-efficiency HVAC system will pay
       for itself in reduced monthly heating and air conditioning bills. You may even
       look into hybrid heating methods that use heat pumps to save even more on your
       monthly bills.