Energy Saving Tips for the Home
Most Americans are just like you - they use natural gas heat to warm their homes and families. Using energy wisely and taking the time to just check little things will make a big difference in how much natural gas you use and how much you spend on your natural gas bill. Below are a few tips to help you plan how to conserve energy and save money.
Use Energy Wisely
Set thermostats between 65 and 70 degrees during the winter, and at 58 degrees when away from the house for more than a few hours. While sleeping, add an extra blanket for warmth. Bear in mind that warmer temperatures are recommended for homes with ill or elderly persons or infants.
- Turn down thermostats automatically without sacrificing comfort by installing an automatic setback or programmable thermostat.
- Change or clean furnace filters once a month during the heating season. Furnaces consume less energy if they “breathe” more easily. Use receipt of your natural gas bill as a reminder.
- Warm air rises, so use registers to direct warm air-flow across the floor.
- Close vents and doors in unused rooms and close dampers on unused fireplaces.
- Set water heater temperatures at 120 degrees. A family of four, each showering for five minutes a day, uses 700 gallons of water each week. By lowering the thermostat on the water heater to 120 degrees, families can reduce water heating bills without sacrificing comfort.
- Install water-flow restrictors in showerheads and faucets.
- If radiators are located near cold walls, place a sheet of aluminum foil between the radiator and the wall to reflect heat back into the room.
- Run washing machines and clothes dryers with a full load.
- On sunny days, open draperies and blinds to let the sun's warmth in. Close them at night to insulate against cold air outside.
Keep The Cold Out
Consumers can take easy, inexpensive steps to reduce household energy consumption and minimize energy loss. Reducing air leaks could cut as much as 10 percent from an average household's monthly energy bill. For example, consumers can seal leaks around doors, windows, and other openings such as pipes or ducts, with caulk or weatherstripping.
The most common places where air escapes in homes are:
- floors, walls, ceilings
- plumbing penetrations
- fans and vents
- electric outlets
Plan for Long-Term Energy-Efficiency Improvements
- Check to see if attic and basement have the recommended levels of insulation.
- Check the heating system and replace old, outdated appliances with high-efficiency natural gas models. When buying new appliances, compare energy efficiency ratings and annual operating costs. Rebates Available
- Install storm or thermal windows and doors or double-paned glass. A less expensive alternative is plastic sheeting, which can be temporarily fastened over doors and windows to prevent drafts and retain heat.