If you’re working and schooling from home these days, your energy bill is probably higher this winter.
A natural gas furnace is typically the biggest consumer of gas in the home. So, managing your home temperature is the easiest way to go on an energy diet. Though natural gas is one of the most efficient methods of heating your home, making even small improvements can add up to big savings on your energy bill.
National Cut Your Energy Costs Day is Jan. 10.
Just in time for National Cut Your Energy Costs Day (Jan. 10), the residential energy experts at Walton Gas are sharing these easy, practical tips for managing home heating.
- Maintain your heating system. Schedule a furnace inspection and regular maintenance to keep your system operating at peak performance. Replacing leaky or worn-out parts as needed helps keep your system from losing energy and running up your gas bill. If you failed to have routine maintenance performed before heating season began, go ahead and do it now to save throughout the remainder of the winter.
- Replace furnace filters. A dirty or clogged filter will demand more energy and slow down the heating process. Filters should be replaced or cleaned a minimum of every three months, especially if you have pets. To help you select the right air filter for your furnace, Walton Gas offers this helpful Q & A.
- Seal the leaks. Identify areas where cold air is leaking into your home and warm air is escaping. According to Energy.gov, heat lost through leaky windows accounts for 10 to 25 percent of your overall heating bill. Also check for drafts around doors, electrical outlets and plumbing.
- Seal leaks between moving parts (between door and its frame) with weather stripping. Fill leaks between non-moving parts (between window frame and wall) with caulking. Use spray foam to reduce air leaks around utility cutouts for pipes under the sink. And make sure electrical outlets and wall plates on your outside walls are properly insulated.
- If warm air is escaping around an attic access door, take a few minutes to make and install an attic stairway box for added insulation. Watch this short DIY tutorial from Walton EMC to make a box for around $25.
- Clear the way. Proper airflow reduces stress on your heating system and helps lower energy expenditures. Warm air your natural gas heating system produces should be able to circulate freely throughout your home. Make sure all necessary vents are open. Prevent furniture, appliances, draperies and rugs from blocking the vents.
- Lower the thermostat. We often heat our homes when it isn’t needed. According to Energy.gov, lowering your thermostat by 10 degrees when you are sleeping or when your home is unoccupied can save around 10 percent a year on your heating bills. Recommended thermostat settings in the winter:
- 68 degrees when the house is occupied.
- 55-60 degrees when nobody is home.
- 65 degrees when everyone is sleeping. Studies show it’s the best temperature for sleep.
Installing a programmable thermostat is an easy way to keep your home’s temperature at energy-efficient levels.
The easiest way to keep your home’s temperature at energy-efficient levels is by replacing your manual thermostat with a programmable one. This relatively low-cost upgrade will automatically turn heat up and down, according to your personal occupancy and sleeping schedules. Invest a bit more for a smart thermostat, and you can adjust your home’s temperature from your smartphone.
- Dress for the weather. Feel cold? Instead of turning up the thermostat when you feel a chill, grab a sweater or another layer of clothing. To trap body heat, wear thicker, knitted clothes. Dress in layers, which traps insulating air near your body to keep you warmer.
- Limit fireplace use. A crackling fire in your hearth is a soothing experience in the winter — but as much as 80 percent of the heat it generates could be going straight up the chimney, if you have a wood-burning or older natural gas fireplace. And as warm air leaves, cold air is being drawn indoors through leaks in your home’s exterior walls and windows. If you enjoy time around the fireplace, consider converting to an energy-efficient gas-fired model. Read this recent blog post for details.
- Lock in your rates. One of the easiest ways to save money on your natural gas bill is to lock in the rate you pay to Walton Gas. Though Walton Gas is typically one of Georgia’s low-cost suppliers, natural gas prices tend to fluctuate over time in response to supply and demand. Locking in your price helps you avoid drastic swings in energy costs. Learn how to sign up for our low fixed rate plans.
Save more energy and money by conducting your own home energy evaluation. Walton EMC’s Greg and Savannah show you how.