Temperatures are creeping down. It won’t be long before we’re considering powering up those furnaces again.
Before you do, though, schedule a checkup for your furnace—and your home—to prevent your energy dollars from disappearing. Every year, American homes lose $13 billion worth of energy, an average of $150 per family, according to Alliant Energy.
Alliant advises you to follow these tips for keeping your home (and pocketbook) happy during the cooler months ahead:
- Do a home energy audit. Many utility companies offer their customers this service.
- Inspect your furnace filter monthly. If it’s dirty, replace it. Dust and dirt can clog vital parts, making your furnace run harder and eventually break down.
- Have your heating system inspected regularly. A $50 to $100 annual tune-up can reduce heating costs by up to 5 percent.
- If you have a forced-air furnace, do NOT close off heat registers in unused rooms. Furnaces are designed to heat a specific square footage of space and can’t sense a register is closed – continuing to work at the same pace.
- If you set your thermostat back by 10 degrees for eight hours while you’re asleep or away, you could lower your heating bills by 10 percent.
- Vacuum registers and vents regularly, and don’t let furniture and draperies block the air flow. Plastic deflectors can direct air under tables and chairs.
- During the winter, keep curtains and blinds closed at night to keep cold air out. Open them during the day to let the sun warm the room.
- While on vacation during the winter, leave the thermostat at 55 degrees. This will save energy and still prevent water pipes from freezing.
- If you have a wood-burning fireplace, have the chimney cleaned and inspected regularly, and burn only fully dried hardwoods to produce the most heat output.
- When using the fireplace, turn down the furnace to 55 degrees. If you don’t, warm air from the furnace will go up the chimney.