Hints & HELP!
ENERGY - FALL UPDATE
by Lorene Bartos, Extension Educator
This article appeared in the September
15, 2003 Lincoln Journal Star Newspaper.
the warning of higher heating costs this winter it is necessary
to see what ways a family can save money by conserving energy.
Costs associated with heating and cooling account for the
majority, about 44 percent of utility bills. Lowering the
thermostat is the easiest way to save energy. Energy use
is reduced for every degree dialed down. With an eight-hour
setback of 10 degrees, the savings is 5 to 15 percent. If
two eight-hour setbacks of 10 degrees lower are used while
sleeping and during time away from home, a 15 to 25 percent
savings can result.
tips for conserving energy include:
Use a programmable thermostat.
Set your thermostat as low as is comfortable in the
Weatherize your home. Insulation and air-sealing improvements
to the shell of your home will always improve your comfort,
regardless of the size and type of heating system installed.
Weatherization may also allow the installation of a
smaller, more economical heating system.
Change filters on furnaces once a month or as needed.
Use kitchen, bath and other ventilating fans wisely;
in just one hour, these fans can pull out a houseful
of warmed or cooled air. Turn fans off as soon as they
have done the job.
During the heating season, keep the draperies, blinds
and shades on the south open during the day to allow
sunlight to enter your home and closed at night to reduce
the chill you may feel from cold windows.
Close an unoccupied room isolated from the rest of the
house, such as in a corner, and turn down the thermostat
or turn off the heating for that room or zone. However,
do not turn the heating off if it adversely affects
the rest of your system. For example, if you heat your
house with a heat pump do not close the ventsclosing
the vents could harm the heat pump.
Maintain your system periodically to yield immediate
energy savings, improved comfort and a longer trouble-free
service for any system. This includes duct repair and
Hire a professional technician to service your heating
equipment. Qualified technicians can often identify
safety and efficiency issues that aren't immediately
apparent. A professional can also teach you about the
operation of your heating system and the role you can
play in performing minor service tasks.
warm-air registers, baseboard heaters and radiators
as needed; make sure they are not blocked by furniture,
carpeting or drapes.
warm air inside by adding insulation. It is relatively
inexpensive and usually will save enough energy within
a few years to pay for itself.
Select energy-efficient equipment when you buy new heating
and cooling equipment. Your contractor should be able
to give you energy fact sheets for different types,
models and designs to help you compare energy usage.
Look for high Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE)
ratings and the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER).
The national minimums are 78% AFUE and 10 SEER.
for the ENERGY STAR® and EnergyGuide labels. ENERGY
STAR® is a program of the U.S. Department of Energy
(DOE) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
designed to help consumers identify energy-efficient
appliances and products.
a home energy audit can help detect problems that may increase
energy costs. You can easily conduct a home energy audit
yourself. With a simple, but diligent, "walk-through,"
you can spot many problems in any type of house. When auditing
your home, keep a checklist of areas you have inspected
and problems found. This will help you prioritize your energy
efficiency upgrades. You can also check with your local
utility companies about home audits.
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