Winters in Pennsylvania can be harsh, cold, and long making it costly to heat your home comfortably. Aside from using a form of supplemental heat like space heaters, fireplaces, or stoves, many homeowners believe there is little they can do to control their monthly energy expenses. Here are a few suggestions to help stretch your heating dollar:
-Installing new equipment can dramatically reduce your annual energy costs. Companies like Tempstar, Solai, and Williamson are continuing to design & manufacture systems with increased efficiency. Aside from the initial up-front cost, a new heating or cooling system can save you on average 10% a year. Did you know that oil heat is one of the most efficient forms of energy? Not only does it burn hot, it produces 138,500 Btu which is more than propane or natural gas.
-Performing a home energy audit can help locate possible air leaks, also known as drafts. Drafts can create cold spots in a home, compromising your overall comfort and placing greater stress on your furnace or boiler. To find possible leaks, check long your baseboard and at junctures between your walls & ceiling. Inspect outlets, doors, and vents as well. If you can see light, it means that your heated air inside is leaking out. Seal any leaks you find.
-Check your weather-stripping and door threads. If it looks warn, torn, or warped replace or fix. Keeping these seals tight will ensure your heated air isn’t leaking outside.
-Use the sun for natural heat! By opening your blinds or curtains during the day, you allow the sun to naturally warm your home. The best part is that it’s absolutely free!
-Keep your supply & return registers free from obstruction. This ensures proper air flow throughout the system maximizing efficiency. It also ensures the heated air is distributed throughout the home evenly without getting trapped behind furniture or absorbed you’re your curtains.
-Insulate your attic and attic door or entrance. Typically, throughout the winter your attic is the coldest part of your home. Proper insulation prevents the cold air from entering the rest of the home.
-Thoroughly inspect your home’s duct work. Since duct work is the means by which the air travels throughout your home, any crack, hole, or poorly connected seam could be leaking up to 20-30% of the heated air.
Additionally, turning your thermostat back when you aren’t home or taking advantage of a programmable thermostat will help you burn through oil more slowly. If you have an oil-fired hot water heater, you can also take shorter showers or run your washing machine using cold water to help reduce your energy costs. All of these suggestions are meant to help you get the most out of your heating dollar.