Seasonal efficiency tips to keep your winter energy bills low

Want to save on your winter costs? Maximize equipment efficiency with some small household fixes.

  • If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to wrap your water heater. Luckily, insulating blankets just for that purpose are available for under $30 at hardware stores.
  • Hot water pipes are another source of energy loss, which can be minimized by purchasing hot water pipe insulation. These insulation tubes fit around the pipes and are relatively easy to install using the product instructions. Make sure you measure your pipe length and width before heading out to the hardware store!
  • If your heating system uses a boiler, remember to get it serviced regularly for both safety and economical reasons. Paying for servicing is an example of paying a little now to avoid paying a bundle on a breakdown later. The service technician will check the venting pipes for leaks or blockages, clean the inside of the boiler, oil the pump and motor, check the efficiency of the thermostat, and bleed air out of the system. Probably the most important part of servicing the system is to check the function of your carbon monoxide detectors and change their backup batteries.
  • Did you know that your HVAC filter affects the efficiency of your heating system? Replacing a clogged filter will allow better air flow and the furnace won’t have to work so hard. You should check the filter every 3 or 4 months. If your home has pets or a smoker living in it, you will want to change it more frequently. You might not even need to pay for a new filter. If your system has a reusable filter, you can rinse it in the sink, let it dry, and replace it without buying a new one. Don’t try that with a disposable filter, since those aren’t made to get wet and should just be replaced with a new filter.
  • Extend the life of your electric wall heaters through simple cleaning: Disconnect power to the heater. Open the front of the heater, if it has a cover. Using the brush attachment on your vacuum, gently vacuum up the dust on the inside of the heater. Use compressed air to loosen up any stubborn or hard to reach debris. Wipe down the outside of the cover with a damp sponge if needed and replace it on the heater. Be sure to read the heater manual for safety information.

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