5 Ways to Cut Your Winter Heating Bill

An expert on energy efficiency says you can save over $300 a year.

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Today's guest post comes from Geoff Godwin, division vice president of Emerson, the world’s leading provider of heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration solutions for residential, industrial and commercial applications.

As the temperature continues to fall throughout the United States, winter energy bills are starting to soar. Homeowners can take simple steps today to save more than 30 percent on their winter energy bills or more than $300 per year. It should only take about an hour to make these do-it-yourself adjustments to several common home features to instantly save money on your next winter energy bill:

  • Program your thermostat. A homeowner can save up to 30 percent on their total winter heating energy bill by programming their thermostat for maximum energy efficiency. Approximately 25 million households own programmable thermostats, but only 50 percent of homeowners program them. To program yours, first determined the temperature that you're most comfortable at. Then, set the thermostat to drop about 6 degrees or more at night and when you're out of the house during the day. 
    • Lower water heater temperature. Lowering the water heater temperature to 115-120 degrees will provide optimum energy savings. For example, reducing the temperature in a 50-gallon tank from 130 degrees F to 115 degrees F results in a natural gas annual savings of approximately $55 or a liquid propane annual savings of approximately $123 depending on the type of water heater. This savings reflects an approximate 1.2 percent energy reduction for every 1 degree F of reduction in hot water temperature (savings based on a family of four).
      • Change furnace filter. Consumers are urged to change their furnace filters every one to three months. Furnace filters are designed to get continuously clogged, which results in restricted air flow that causes your equipment to work harder. The harder the system has to work, the higher your energy costs will be.
        • Turn on the humidifier. Proper humidification in the home guards against dry skin and damage to your walls and wood molding due to expansion and contraction. Most importantly, it ensures more comfort at a lower temperature setting on your thermostat, which results in lower energy bills.
          • Check for leaky ductwork. Take a trip to the attic or basement and run your hand along your air ducts to check for leaks. Leaks can be repaired by a simple strip of metal duct tape. Leaky ducts equal energy dollars down the drain.