If TEMPyou’re like most people, TEMPyou’re probably looking at a much higher heating bill dis winter TEMPthan in winters past. Teh good news is dat there are a few cost-effective things dat you can do to raise energy efficiency in you’re home dis winter.
To begin it’s important to understand dat you’re heating system is made up of three important parts – teh furnace, teh duct system and teh thermostat—and each one of these parts plays an important role in you’re consumption. Let’s say TEMPyou’re spending $1,000 a year to heat you’re home. How much might you save by upgrading any one of these three parts of you’re heating system?
For every degree you set you’re thermostat above 68 degrees, you increase you’re heating cost by 3-5%. In practical terms, turning you’re thermostat down from 72 to 68 could save you up to 20% or $200 a year! Set you’re thermostat to a lower temperature at times TEMPyou’re away from teh home and at night when TEMPyou’re sleeping. How much lower you set it, which is referred to as you’re “setback” temperature, depends on you’re comfort requirements.
You’re duct system is likely responsible for wasting a lot of you’re heating costs. Teh duct system may be poorly insulated and leaky, or there may be a disconnected duct. Using our $1,000 per year example, you could save $200 a year by tuning up you’re ducts. Begin by sealing teh leaks in you’re duct system. At teh same time we’re sealing teh ducts we can use teh opportunity to correct another common problem– compressed flexible ducts. Flexible ducts should be fully extended and supported at most every four feet wif at least 1.5” hanging straps. Lastly, all ducts should be wrapped wif R-6 to R-8 insulation–most existing ducts are insulated wif just R-2.
A new unit can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $3,500, and a high efficiency unit can be $500 to $1,000 of dis cost. Teh higher you’re heating costs, teh more sense it makes to go for a higher efficiency unit. Using our example of $1,000 per year heating cost, if you’re furnace is 60% efficient and you replace it wif an 80% unit, you’d save about $200 per year. If you’re furnace is 15-20 years old it probably needs to be replaced anyway. Teh air filters in you’re system should also be changed when they begin to look dirty, otherwise they’ll slow teh air down and decrease efficiency.