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Thursday, 27 October 2022 15:32

Save on Heat and Utilities this Winter

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8 Winter Energy Saving Tips

Heating oil, natural gas, and electric prices are expected to skyrocket this heating season due to higher wholesale energy costs and lower supply.1

To ensure maximum savings through the winter, the U.S. Department of Energy recommends the following energy-saving tips:

1. Take Advantage of Heat from the Sun

  • Open curtains on the south-facing windows during the day to allow sunlight to naturally heat the home, and close them at night to reduce the chill from cold windows.
  • Be certain to plant deciduous trees on the south-facing side of the home, especially in proximity to windows.  They will let the light and warmth in the windows during the winter and will shade the windows in the summer.

2. Cover Drafty Windows

  • Use a heavy-duty, clear plastic sheet on a frame or tape clear plastic film to the inside of window frames during the cold winter months. Make sure the plastic is sealed tightly to the frame to help reduce infiltration.
  • Install tight-fitting, insulating drapes or shades on windows that feel drafty after weatherizing.
  • Find out about other window treatments and coverings that can improve energy efficiency.

3. Adjust the Temperature

  • When you are home and awake, set the thermostat as low as is comfortable.
  • When you are asleep or out of the house, turn the thermostat back to save as much as 10% a year on your heating and cooling bills. A smart or programmable thermostat can make it easy to set back your temperature. But make sure the temperature is comfortable for pets!
  • If you have a heat pump, maintain a moderate setting or use a programmable thermostat specially designed for use with heat pumps.

U.S. Energy Information Administration's 2022 Winter Fuels Outlook

4. Find and Seal Leaks

  • Seal air leaks around utility cut-throughs for pipes ("plumbing penetrations"), gaps around chimneys and recessed lights in insulated ceilings, and unfinished spaces behind cupboards and closets.
  • Add caulk or weatherstripping to seal air leaks around leaky doors and windows.

5. Maintain Your Heating Systems

  • Schedule routine service for home heating systems.
  • Replace furnace and heat pump filters once a month or as needed. Find out more about maintaining furnaces or boilers and heat pumps.
  • Regularly clean the flue vent of wood and pellet burning heaters and clean the inside of the appliance with a wire brush periodically to ensure that it is heating efficiently. Find other maintenance recommendations for wood- and pellet-burning appliances.

6. Reduce Heat Loss from the Fireplace

  • Keep the fireplace damper closed unless a fire is burning. Keeping the damper open is like keeping a window wide open during the winter; it allows warm air to go right up the chimney.
  • When using the fireplace, reduce heat loss by opening dampers in the bottom of the firebox (if provided) or open the nearest window slightly--approximately 1 inch--and close doors leading into the room. Lower the thermostat setting to between 50° and 55°F.
  • If the fireplace is never used, plug and seal the chimney flue.
  • Install tempered glass doors and a heat-air exchange system that blows warmed air back into the room.
  • Check the seal on the fireplace flue damper and make it as snug as possible.
  • Purchase grates made of C-shaped metal tubes to draw cool room air into the fireplace and circulate warm air back into the room.
  • Add caulking around the fireplace hearth. Find out more techniques to improve your fireplace or wood-burning appliance's efficiency. Learn tips for safe and efficient fireplace installation and wood burning.

7. Lower Water Heating Costs

  • Keep the temperature of the water heater to the warm setting (120°F). This will not only save energy, it will also help avoid scalding.
  • Find other ideas for energy-efficient water heating.

8. Lower Holiday Lighting Costs

  • Use light-emitting diode -- or "LED" -- holiday light strings to reduce the cost of decorating the home for the winter holidays.
  • Learn about the advantages and potential cost savings of LED holiday light strings.
  • Find manufacturers and brands of ENERGY STAR® certified decorative light strings.

Bundle Up

Wearing layers of clothing will help to keep you warm when the thermostat is set lower. Wool, fleece, and silk clothing are warmer than cotton, and rechargeable heated clothing provides warmth indoors as well as outdoors.

The Window Replacement and Energy Savings Myth

The Department of Energy Resources (DOER) busts the myth that replacing windows is the best investment to lower home energy costs in this video: 

 

Energy Assessments

If you haven't done so already, conduct an energy assessment to determine where to save the most, and consider making a larger investment for long-term energy savings. 

In Massachusetts, you have access to services and incentives to manage your energy use and control energy costs in your home. Start with an energy assessment through Mass Save’s® online tool or website. Additionally, Mass.gov also just announced the Home MVP program for 1-4 Unit homes, a program that offers incentives to reduce home energy use and bills while improving home comfort and performance.2

The Home MVP Program is designed to help Massachusetts residents reduce their home’s energy use, costs and carbon footprint, while also improving its comfort, value, and performance.

Staying warm this winter may be more costly than in prior years, but utilizing these cost-saving tips can provide comfort to you and your family throughout the season.


Sources:

Energy.gov Energy.gov Fall and Winter Energy Saving Tips

1Mass.gov

 2https://www.mass.gov/guides/home-mvp

Read 413 times Last modified on Wednesday, 18 January 2023 15:14

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