Tuesday, November 09, 2010

How to Lower Heating Costs

This year's winter season didn't seem like a normal winter season where in some parts of the country temperatures were in the 70's and 80's even until the last week of October. For utility companies specifically the gas company, the winter season begins October 1 and ends March 31. According to the Energy information Administration the average American household will pay $27 more than last year due to a 6% price increase.

Approximately 52% of all U.S. homes depend on natural gas as their primary heating fuel. Approximately 7% of U.S. homes depend on heating oil and will pay approximately $220 more this winter. Approximately 6% of all U.S. homes use propane for heating and can expect to pay approximately $136 more than last year. Approximately 37% of all U.S. homes use electricity for heating and can expect to pay approximately $18 less this winter.

The national average price for heating with oil has more than quadrupled to 198% from 2003-2004 to 2008-2009. Here are 9 tips to save on heating costs this winter.

1. Yearly check. Have annual checks on your heating system such as your furnace before the winter season begins. It is best to get a checkup during the summer months when business is slow.

2. Insulate. Insulate your attic and any other areas that are drafty such as your attic, basement, ceilings, walls, crawl spaces, hot water pipes, furnaces, ducts, etc.

3. Automate. Install a programmable thermostat and keep your setting on 68% Fahrenheit. Lower the temperature setting while away from home and during the day. This can save 20% on your heating costs.

4. Seal drafts. Seal any drafts around windows, chimneys, pipes, light fixtures, doors or electrical outlets which can reduce your heating costs by 30%. Replace drafty windows if needed. Hang curtains to seal drafts from windows or place rugs at doors to keep air out.

5. Water Heater. Buy a home water heater insulator to keep the water hot longer and reduce the amount of gas needed to heat the hot water heater.

6. Clothes. Wear more clothes at home to prevent turning the thermostat up.

7. Let the sun in. Open blinds or curtains during the day to let heat in.

8. Use fans. Use ceiling fans and run in the opposite direction to circulate heat.

9. Cover floors. Carpet floors to retain heat and keep floors warm.

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