If it's not air conditioning, it's heat, and both cost money. Now that we're moving into the cooler months, the price of heating your home is going to be on your radar.
No one can control what the temperature is outside, or if we'll be blessed with a warmer-than-normal winter, which can cut down on the high cost of heat. But there are things you can do to make your heating dollar go farther.
These tips are from PSE&G; most are excellent ideas, and some you may not have considered before:
- Check for sufficient water levels in the sight glass for hot water and steam heating systems to ensure maximum efficiency. Clean or replace the furnace filter on hot air heating systems.
- Lower your thermostat by just one degree, which may reduce your heating bill by up to 3 percent. Save even more by lowering your thermostat 2 degrees during the day and 5 to 10 degrees at bedtime if health conditions permit.
- Close dampers in fireplaces you don’t use.
- Wrap the outlet pipe with inexpensive flexible insulating tubing to reduce the time it takes for hot water to reach your shower. Set your hot water heater to no more than 120 degrees.
- Move furniture and drapes away from heating registers, radiators, and baseboard element covers. Open any register or baseboard dampers.
- Cover window air conditioners to reduce drafts. Install insulated or lined drapes on your windows.
- Use weather stripping or one-sided sticky tape to seal up cracks and prevent drafts in windows and doorframes. Caulk smaller gaps. Beneath doors, install draft guards available at hardware stores.
- Use a shrink film insulation kit on really drafty windows or make one yourself from plastic sheeting and double-faced tape.
- Seal wall switches and electrical outlets with small foam gaskets available at home improvement centers and hardware stores. Remove the cover plate, insert the gasket, and screw the cover plate back in place.
- If you have a door leading outside from your basement, hang a full-size sheet of plastic from the door frame to keep heat from escaping. Seal windows in the basement with plastic to create a barrier against the cold. (Make sure you allow enough air supply to feed your fuel-burning appliances safely.)
- Keep your garage door closed if the garage is attached to the house.
- If your budget permits, install (or have installed) a programmable thermostat that you can set to automatically lower room temperatures when rooms are not in use and also at bedtime if health conditions permit.
- Visit PSE&G’s Home Energy Toolkit at www.pseg.com/toolkit. You can calculate the energy efficiency of your home and find out how to save energy and money on appliances and heating systems.