6 Tips to Prepare for a Cold, Stormy Winter
(Family Features) Weather fluctuations are the norm these days, and cold winter weather is on the horizon.
This winter, don't get caught out in the cold when it comes to heating costs. There are things you can do now to help save money by reducing your energy consumption. Consider these tips to help you reduce usage and home heating costs this season.
1. One of the easiest ways to save on your heating bill is turning the heat down to the lowest setting you are comfortable with. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, turning the temperature down an additional 10-15 F while you are sleeping or away can help save about 10% a year on energy costs.
2. Installing a programmable thermostat can make turning down the heat automatic. Depending on the model, you can set different temperatures for when you are home, away or asleep. Better yet, a WiFi-connected smart thermostat can make automatic adjustments and is controllable remotely using a smartphone.
3. Keep up with regular maintenance of your home heating system so it runs efficiently. Change your filter as recommended by the manufacturer and have a professional conduct an inspection and tune-up before the weather gets cold and appointments become harder to get. A dirty or clogged furnace filter can cause your furnace to work harder than needed and waste energy in the process. According to experts, regular, routine maintenance and cleaning can help your furnace run more efficiently and potentially extend its life.
4. The average life of a furnace is 15-20 years, so be prepared when it comes time to replace. Oftentimes, people wait to buy a new furnace until their current system breaks down and have to resort to buying what's in stock. Planning ahead lets you shop for a system that's right for your home and preferences. Right now may be a good time to consider replacing your aging furnace with available manufacturer promotions, energy company incentives and tax credits associated with the Inflation Reduction Act.
5. If you replace your furnace, consider switching to a high efficiency model. They offer a higher level of comfort and energy cost savings. Many homeowners are opting for higher efficiency heat pumps, units that handle both heating and cooling. They are powered by electricity and a growing choice for consumers who want to use less fossil fuels.
6. Check for drafts around doors, windows and other openings. Seal with caulk or weatherstripping. Also ensure your home is insulated properly. Some utility companies offer to check your home's insulation for free. Having less cold air to heat can yield considerable cost savings.
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