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Energy Saving Advice

Tips for Saving Money on Heating Next Winter

energy saving michigan Did you know that heating and cooling systems make up about 60% of the average home’s energy consumption? That’s why it’s so important to maintain your HVAC equipment properly—and invest in a replacement system when your home comfort system has reached the end of its life span. But it also makes sense to look beyond your HVAC systems and find other ways to conserve energy.

In fact, with a little planning and some simple changes around the house, you can lower your energy output and expenses. Here are some cost-effective ways to help you save energy, now and for next winter.

Use a Smart Programmable Thermostat

Investing in a smart programmable thermostat is a wise move. When used correctly, it will pay for itself in just a short time. If you choose a Wi-Fi thermostat, you can control your home’s temperature from your smartphone.

In the spring and summer, the U.S. Energy Department recommends setting your central air conditioning system to 78°F when you’re at home. Program your A/C system to shut off 20-30 minutes before you leave home each day; return the temperature setting to normal comfort levels 20 to 30 minutes before you come home.

In the winter, the best setting is 68°F when you’re at home. Dial it down toward the 60°F range when you’re asleep or out of the house. The temperatures you ultimately choose will depend on factors like the outdoor temperature and your family’s comfort preferences. Remember, these are just guidelines.

Weatherize and Insulate

Caulk any air leaks around exterior doors and windows that might have widened over the winter. While you’re at it, replace any door weatherstripping that might have worn away.

In terms of insulation, most homes are under-insulated. Adding enough to meet recommended R-values is one of the most cost-effective ways to improve your home’s overall efficiency and comfort. The U.S. Energy Department offers a Guide to Home Insulation.

Keep Air Filters Clean

If you have a forced-air system (one with vents or registers rather than radiators or baseboards), your most important self- maintenance task is to check your air filters regularly, cleaning or changing them when needed. Clogged filters rob your furnace of efficiency by making it overwork to keep you warm; that means higher heating bills and more wear and tear on your equipment. The same principle applies if you have a central air conditioning system in your home.

Save with Free Solar Heat

During the cold months, keep curtains and shades open in sun-exposed rooms to absorb all that free heat and energy from the sun during the day, then close them at night to keep it in at night. Do the reverse in the summer by closing curtains and shades during the day to block solar heat. Smart window treatments can help manage solar energy throughout the year.

Fireplace Dampers, Vents and Radiators

An open fireplace damper is like an open window; close it when you are not using your fireplace. You should also move any furniture, drapery or rugs away from air vents, baseboards or radiators. This helps improve air flow and keeps heat circulating into rooms.

Replace Your Heating Oil System

The most impactful action you can take is to replace your old heating system with a new, higher efficiency heating oil furnace or heating oil boiler. While this will cost you the most, it will also save you the most. Depending on the age and condition of your current system, you may be able to reduce your annual heating costs by 20% or more.

Plus, homeowners can now claim a federal tax credit of $600 for installing ENERGY STAR-certified heating oil systems that use renewable fuel blends of at least 20% biofuel. There may also still be Michigan heating oil equipment rebates available for upgrades to a high-efficiency heating oil furnace or heating oil boiler.

If you’re ready to explore new heating system options for your home, reach out to your Michigan heating oil company for advice.