Winter Heat Savings

Couple on VacationWith the approach of winter, homeowners may feel the squeeze in their check books from rising energy bills. Heating and cooling a home account for 56% of the energy use, according to the Department of Energy. Many of us fail to take steps to save on winter heating bills as well as minimize heating-related home insurance risk.

Here are three money-saving ways to keep your home warm this winter and your pockets filled.

1. Insulation is your home’s all-purpose force field against high energy bills. It minimizes heat transfer in winter and summer, provides ventilation to control moisture and makes your home more livable. But before you insulate your home, be sure to seal all ductwork, plumbing and cable TV penetrations. Leaky ducts can account for 10% to 30% of heating and cooling costs.

Cost: $500 to $1,000 to bring a typical attic up to code.
Savings: 20% to 30% off your monthly bill, with return on investment in as little as one year.

2. Teach your thermostat to save you money. We adjust the temperature inside our homes all the time with the press of a button or the turn of a dial. You can save 10% of your winter heating bills by adjusting your thermostat 10 to 15 degrees cooler for the eight hours you’re at work, according to the Department of Energy.

Cost: $40 to $70 plus installation.
Savings: 10% to 20% on winter heating bills.

3. Turn down your hot water setting and soak up the savings. Water heaters are often factory-set at 140 degrees Fahrenheit, hot enough to scald. The Department of Energy says most of us can live comfortably with 120-degree water. You can save 3% to 5% on your water heating costs for every 10 degrees of setback.

Cost: Free to adjust, inexpensive for attachments, $50 to insulate, $500 to $1,000 for on-demand systems.
Savings: 6% to 10% on water heating costs with 20-degree setback; 24% to 34% by going tank less.

Whether you’re hoping to ease your impact on the planet or just want to save a few dollars, reducing your energy use can help you get there. For more information visit http://www.energy.gov/ , you’ll find helpful tips and easy-to-follow information on how you can increase your energy efficiency and lower your heating and cooling costs.

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