Yes it’s easy to forget, but it’s important to replace or clean furnace filters once a month during the heating season. Dirty filters restrict airflow and increase energy demand. Here’s a worry-saving tip: Mark a monthly check on your calendar.
Also consider switching to a permanent filter, which will reduce waste and hassle. Did you know that disposable fiberglass filters trap a measly 10 to 40 percent of debris? Electostatic filters trap around 88% and are much better at controlling the bacteria, mold, viruses and pollen that cause illness and irritation. They cost $50 to $1,000 or more. Another good choice is a genuine HEPA filter (like the one pictured), which can remove at least 99.97% of airborne particles. HEPA filters are based on Department of Energy standards. But avoid “HEPA-like” filters, which can be significantly less effective.
If your entire furnace is in need of replacement, it will cost a lot more—but replacing an inefficient burner for a modern machine will save you every month through the heating season. Be sure to take advantage of federal tax credits for new furnaces, which can cover 10 percent of cost up to $500 or a specific amount from $50 to $300.
2. Run Your Ceiling Fans in Reverse
Most people consider fans just when they want to be trendy, but many ceiling components include a handy switch that reverses the direction of their blades. Counterclockwise rotation generates cooling breezes, while shifting to clockwise makes it warmer. Air pooled near the ceiling is circulated back into the living space–cutting on your heating costs as much as 10 percent!
3. Turn Down Your Water Heater Temperature
As many conventional water heaters are set to 140 degrees Fahrenheit by installers, most families don’t need that much steam, and wind up paying for it–in dollars and also the occasional scalding burn. Lowering the temperature to 120 degrees Fahrenheit (or lower) would reduce your water heating costs by 6 to 10 percent.
If you start to wonder why you need a tank at all, then you may be ready for a tankless water heater, or to go solar. If you are on the market for a brand new water heater, then benefit from the national tax credit, which pays 30 percent of price with no upper limit. Tax credits for Solar Energy Systems can be found at 30 percent during December 31, 2019.
4. Fix Drafts Under Doors and Windows
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, drafts can squander 5 to 30 percent of your electricity use. Start simple and adopt that outdated Great Depression fixture–the draft snake, which it is easy to create yourself. Just put a rolled bath towel under a drafty door, or make a more attractive DIY draft snake with googly eyes, felt tongues and such. You can use any bits of cloth, even neckties, and fill with sand or kitty litter for heft.
Make sure drafts aren’t giving your thermostat a false reading, too. (Continue reading for more advanced solutions.)
5. Install Storm Doors and Windows
The easy act of installing a storm door can boost energy performance by 45 percent by sealing drafts and decreasing air flow. Storm doors also offer greater flexibility for allowing light and ventilation enter your house. Look for Energy Star-certified versions.
It might be a pain, however it is well worthwhile to get them out of the shed or attic and install them for the season. (Ensure each is securely shut–they do not do much good if you leave them in the up position by mistake!)
Federal tax credits are offered in 10 percent of cost (not including installation costs), up to $200 for windows and skylights and up to $500 for doorways. Cumulative maximum tax credits for windows, windows and skylights for all years combined is $500.
6. Have Your Furnace Inspected and Tuned Up
You probably already know that cars need periodic tune-ups in order to conduct their finest. Well, the exact same is true for heating gear. Maintaining your furnace clean, lubricated and properly adjusted will decrease energy use, conserving up to 5 percent of heating costs.
The good news is many utilities offer free annual checkups by qualified technicians–but you often have to call early, since HVAC crews become backed up once heating season begins. Some furnace producers and dealers also offer discounted or free inspections.
If your entire furnace is in need of replacement, it is going to cost a lot longer–but replacing an ineffective burner for a modern machine will help save you money every month through the heating system. Make sure to take advantage of national tax credits for new furnaces, that can cover 10 percent of cost up to $500 or a particular amount from $50 to $300. This tax credit expires December 31, 2016, so act now.
6. Set Thermostat Properly For Winter Months With A Programmable Thermostat
It’s easy to forget to turn the heat down when you leave the building, but doing this is among the easiest ways to spend less. Most families shell out 50 to 70 percent of the energy budgets on cooling and heatingsystem, and why pay for what nobody uses?
For each degree you lower the thermostat through heating system, you will save between 1 and 3 percent of your heating bill. Make it easier with a toaster. They are commonly available for as little as $50, and the average household will save $180 annually with you.
Go a step farther and ask the regional utility if it is making smart meters readily available in your town as part of current national clever grid investments.