Many people are shocked to find that natural gas costs are typically much higher in winter months. Gas usage jumps as it gets colder outside because your natural gas furnace or boiler must work longer and harder to maintain warmer temperatures inside.
Remember that if your thermostat is set to turn on the gas below a certain temperature (say 68 or 65), your furnace will run whenever it is cold--whether you are home or not! Check your thermostat setting when leaving on vacation; there's nothing worse than a high gas bill for keeping your home warm for no one...
Lower your natural gas usage while staying comfortable by taking these actions---many of which are low or no cost.
Lower the temperature on your thermostat Every degree you reduce the temperature setting on your thermostat saves about 2%. During the winter, most people can set their thermostat at 68 degrees while at home, health permitting. Turning the temperature setting way down or even off when you are away or at night can save as much as 15% or more.
Install an ENERGY STAR® programmable thermostat Program your ENERGY STAR certified thermostat to turn on and off automatically. For example, set the thermostat to turn off an hour after you go to bed and back on one hour before you wake up. Remember, each degree you lower your thermostat can save you up to 2% on your heating costs.
Clean or replace your furnace filter regularly A dirty filter prevents proper airflow, makes your heater run longer and uses more energy. By simply cleaning/replacing the filter in forced-air heating systems you can save up to 5% on your heating costs.
Annual heating system tune-up Have your heating system professionally checked once a year to keep the unit running efficiently. Make sure there are no leaks in your ducts. Leaky or disconnected air ducts can cause you to loose 10% to 30% of your heating energy. Why let all that heat blow outdoors?
Plug those air leaks in your home Seal doors with draft-reducing weather-stripping and door sweeps, install gaskets behind outlet covers, seal areas where plumbing is entering your home and add weather-stripping or caulking to leaky windows. These changes can save you up to 10% on energy costs.
Lower the temperature on your water heater Reduce your water heater thermostat to 120 degrees or to the low/medium setting. If you have a dishwasher without a built-in heating unit, 140 degrees is recommended (refer to your owner's manual). Each 10 degree reduction will save 3% to 5% on water heating costs.
Install high efficiency showerheads and faucet aerators Save up to 50% on hot water costs and reduce water waste by installing high efficiency showerheads and faucet aerators.
Take a shorter shower Reduce that lingering time in the shower by a few minutes and save hundreds of gallons of hot water per month for a family of four. Showers account for 66% of your water heating costs. Cutting your showers in half will reduce your heating costs by 33%.
Insulate with window coverings Close blinds and drapes at night to keep cold air out and open them during the day to let the warm sun in.
Insulate your attic and walls and get a rebate. Insulation is one of the least expensive things that you can do to reduce energy usage and improve comfort. Adequate insulation above the ceiling and in the walls does the same thing for your house that wearing a hat and sweater does for you----keeps the heat in and the cold out! Proper insulation can save up to 30% on your heating bills and will make your home more comfortable in the process. Rebates of up to $200 are available for installing insulation. Call (650) 329-2241 or visit us here for more information on rebate requirements or to apply on-line or get an application.
Stay more comfortable by keeping your furniture away from windows and exterior walls, especially if your walls are not insulated.
Not sure where to start? Green@Home’s volunteer energy auditors will come to your house and give you a personalized list of what items will reduce your energy costs the most. Call the program coordinator today at (650) 962-9876, extension 380.