Whether you choose to heat your home with heating oil or natural gas, there are dozens of things you can do to significantly reduce your annual energy bill at a fraction of the cost of switching from one fuel to another. Now’s the time to make these improvements and upgrades, and your house — and wallet — will be happier for it
Fast & Free Updates You Can Make Today
- Vacuum baseboard heating units so they transfer heat to living space more efficiently. Remove covers to expose heating pipes and their heat dispersing vanes. Use a kitchen broom to sweep off as much dust and lint as you can, and then vacuum.
- Let heat flow freely by removing obstructions to baseboards, radiators, and floor vents. Make sure armchairs, couches, drapes, bookshelves, etc. are not blocking heat sources. Keep rugs slightly away from baseboards, too, so air can pass through the bottom of the baseboard and force warm air out the top.
- Keep closet doors closed. You don’t need to keep your clothes at room- temperature, so why pay for the extra fuel?
- Close curtains and shades at night to trap heat inside; open them during the day to let heat from the sun in.
- Frequently clean windows on the south side of your house to maximize solar gain.
- Set ceiling fans to rotate in a clockwise direction to push heat down.
- Set your water heater thermostat to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Wash clothes in cold water whenever you can.
- Get in and out fast. Every time you open your front door, cold air rushes in through a 21 square-foot hole. Be quick! And make sure you have your car keys so you don’t have to come and go twice.
Low Cost Updates to Reduce Your Energy Bill
- Schedule a furnace tune-up. Experts agree that the most effective way to get the most from your oil or gas heating system is to have it maintained and tuned once a year. Improving the efficiency of your heating system by just a couple of percent points can bring dramatic energy cost savings.
- Seal cold air out of outlets, switches, and junction boxes on outer walls with cans of spray foam-insulation (available at hardware stores).
- Insulate pipes on or near outer walls with foam-rubber pipe insulation.
- Add thermal window quilts. These thick fabric shades can help keep your home warmer by adding another layer of “dead air” in window casings, keeping cold air out.
- Check and clean the air filters in your heating system. They may need to be replaced every month; Energy Star recommends at least every three months.
- Plug leaks around doors with weather stripping. A 1/8-inch gap at the bottom of the average door is like as having a hole in the wall the size of half-dollar coin. Think of all the cold air that can blow through a hole that size, all winter long.