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Serving Fairfield, Litchfield & New Haven Counties since 1982

Fall/winter home energy efficiency tips

Fall is knocking on our door here in Fairfield, New Haven, and Litchfield counties – and with cool weather heading our way, the first heating bills of the season won’t be far behind.

If you’re looking for ways to shrink those bills as much as possible, here are some cost-effective ways to do it.

Free fixes

  1. Program your thermostat – A programmable thermostat can help you save 10 percent on your heating bills, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Use your thermostat to drop temperatures when you’re asleep or out of the house, and aim for a moderate temperature of 68 degrees for the best balance of comfort and energy efficiency when people are home. If you don’t have a programmable thermostat, get one – it will pay for itself in a year, and you’ll save every year after that.
  2. Open shades, curtains, and blinds during the day – Leave window treatments open during the day to collect radiant heat from the sun, then close them at night to keep that heat in.
  3. Adjust your water heater thermostat – Most water heater thermostats are set needlessly high – as much as 140 degrees, in some cases. For showers, dishwashing, clothes washing, and more, 120 degrees is more than enough to get the job done.
  4. Adjust your washing machine – Always wait until you have a full load to wash, and set the water capacity to meet the needed size for the clothes that need cleaning. Skip the warm and hot wash cycles, too: today’s detergents work equally well on cold and warm settings, so why pay to heat all that water?
  5. Reverse your ceiling fans – Most ceiling fans can be reversed with the flip of a switch; make sure yours is set to force rising warm air back down into the room during the fall and winter.

Modestly priced fixes

  1. Seal air leaks – The average American home leaks the equivalent of an open window’s worth of air through leaks around doors and windows and through walls, ceilings, and other cavities. Those air leaks can cost you hundreds of dollars by forcing your furnace or boiler to overwork to keep you comfortable. Caulking and weather sealing are cheap, effective ways to minimize leaks.
  2. Install better window treatments – Your curtains and blinds can have a big effect on your energy bills, so choose your window treatments wisely.
  3. Replace your old showerheads and aerators – Low-flow showerheads and aerators (the screw-on tip to your faucets) can cut your hot water usage in half without any noticeable difference in water pressure or comfort.
  4. Maintain your equipment – Preventative maintenance for your propane or oil-fired equipment is the key to keeping it operating at peak efficiency month after month, year after year. Schedule your heating maintenance before the cold CT nights arrive!

Long-term efficiency investments

  1. Add insulation – Most homes in Connecticut – especially older ones – are under-insulated. A one-time investment in proper insulation can cut your energy bills by up to 10 percent every year. Check out these DOE insulation tips and guidelines.
  2. Replace single pane windows – If your budget allows, consider replacing single-pane windows with Energy Star™ rated models. You’ll have fewer drafts, which will take some of the pressure off your gas furnace.
  3. Upgrade older appliances – Most of today’s high-efficiency home comfort equipment performs significantly better than older equipment – especially if that equipment hasn’t been properly maintained. If you’re replacing a 10-year-old system, your heating bill might drop 25 percent or more – enough to offset the investment in a new unit in just a few years.

Save money this fall and winter with a heating system upgrade, or a Service Plan for your heating oil- or propane-fired heating system! Contact us today to learn more, or to get a FREE, no obligation estimate on a new home heating system from Jennings Oil & Propane!