December 17, 2010 in Home Safety & Maintenance
While natural gas prices are lower in some places than they were last year, the cost of heating your home can still be very costly. Every time you sit down to watch the news or you pick up a newspaper, you hear about how natural gas prices are on the rise. This is not good news, especially during the cold winter months when you want to be warm. Listed below are 5 money saving tips that you can use to cut down on your gas usage and lower your heating bills substantially.
Lower your thermostat.
Research has shown that by lowering the thermostat even one degree, you can save up to five percent on your heating costs. Programmable thermostats are great because once they are properly set up; they automatically lower the temperature in your home. You will never again get to work and remember that you forgot to turn down the heat! Ideally, you should program it to set the temperature lower when you are at work and when you are sleeping.
Maintain your furnace.
Your furnace is a key element to your family's comfort and it needs to be properly maintained in order to function properly. Maintaining your furnace is also key to lowering your heating bills. It is recommended that your furnace be professionally cleaned and serviced at least once a year. The filter is a very important and often neglected heating component. A dirty filter restricts air flow and causes more energy to be used to run the furnace. It is generally recommended that it be changed at least once a month. However, if you live in a new construction area, you may need to change it more often than a home located in an established area.
Turn water heater temperature down.
We often find temperatures on water heaters that are set much higher than recommended. The typical recommended temperature setting is 120 degrees however some dishwashers require a higher heat setting. Check the manual for your dishwasher and lower the water heater temperature if you can. You should also consider insulating the water line starting from where it comes out of the water heater and continuing along the exposed length. It is estimated that making these simple adjustments can save up to ten percent on the cost of heating your water.
Fill the gaps.
Homes can leak air from many different areas and it is important to inspect your home for gaps. The areas most prone to air leakage / infiltration include windows and doors where they meet the house as well as any areas where pipes, vents or electrical conduits are run through the siding and into the home. All of these areas should be inspected and sealed as needed to prevent air and water penetration. If you have windows that are very old and are in poor condition, it may be wise to install replacement windows.
Upgrade your furnace.
Unfortunately, older heating units and water heaters are not as efficient and cost effective to operate as newer models. For example, if your water heater is more than 14 years old, you can purchase a new unit that is up to fifteen percent more efficient than the old unit. Installing new gas units is costly initially, but can really save you money over the long term.