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Use Less Energy, Save More Money

Ring Up Your Energy Savings with Small Changes

energy cost savings michiganWith energy prices so high and inflation rates draining cash from our pockets every day, most Michiganders want to save money at home wherever they can.

Here’s an idea: there are actually many small yet important energy conservation methods that can add up to impressive savings over time. Here is a closer look at some of the steps you can take to improve your home’s energy efficiency.

Self-Maintenance Tasks

Besides partnering with your heating oil service provider to perform regular, money-saving maintenance on your heating equipment, you can also do some self-maintenance tasks during next heating season.

For instance, if you have a forced-air system (one with vents or registers rather than radiators or baseboards), the most important self-maintenance task is to check your filter regularly, cleaning or changing them when needed. Check the manufacturer’s guidelines for proper maintenance. Clogged filters lower furnace efficiency by making it overwork to keep you warm; that means higher heating bills and more wear and tear on your equipment. Note: the same principle about checking air filters applies if you have a central air conditioning system in your home.

If you have an older steam boiler, you should check the water gauge periodically. Low water levels are a leading cause for boiler shutdowns. Steam boilers should also be flushed when the water in the gauge looks rusty. If you have a modern hot water boiler, the boiler’s automatic filling system should maintain the proper water level.

If you’re not sure whether you have a boiler or a furnace, please go here.

Weatherize and Insulate

While the weather is mild, take the time to apply caulk to close off any air leaks around exterior doors and windows. While you’re at it, replace 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. Read the Energy Department’s Guide to Home Insulation.

Here Comes the Sun

During the cold months, keep curtains and shades open in sun-exposed rooms to absorb all that free heat and energy during the day, then close them at night to keep the heat 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.

Fireplaces, Vents, and Thermostat Settings

An open damper on your fireplace is like an open window; close the damper when you are not using your wood-burning hearth.

You should also move any furniture, drapery or rugs away from air vents, baseboards or radiators. This helps improve airflow and keeps heat circulating into rooms.

Do you have a smart programmable thermostat? When used correctly, it will pay for itself in just a short time with the energy savings you can achieve. If you choose a Wi-Fi thermostat, you can control your home’s temperature from your smartphone.

In the winter, the optimal thermostat 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. Don’t go too low or you risk frozen pipes. The temperatures you ultimately choose will depend on factors like the outdoor temperature and your family’s comfort preferences. Remember, these are just guidelines.

To learn about how you can make an even bigger impact on your home’s energy efficiency through upgrades to systems like high-efficiency heating oil boilers and heating oil furnaces, please go here.