10/07/16 : Molly Morabito

8 Tips to Heat Your Home Efficiently This Fall

October is National Energy Action month, and with a new fall chill in the air, it’s also the perfect time to start saving energy at home. But how to do it? Considering that space heating is typically the largest energy expense in American households, making up nearly 45% of residential energy bills, that’s a pretty good place to start. So grab a pumpkin spice latte, pull on a cozy sweater, and check out these tips for reducing the amount of energy you use to heat up your home.

  1. Fight the draft - Keep heat from escaping by sealing up gaps or leaks around your home. Caulk windows and apply weatherstrips to doors, and look for gaps around your electrical outlets. These simple tasks can save you up to 20% on your heating bill!
  2. Don’t block your vents - Don’t make your heater work harder than it has to - make sure your furniture or drapes aren’t blocking your vents. For an extra touch, vacuum out dust or pet hair from the dampers to make sure they’re working effectively.
  3. Reset your water heater - If you’ve never run out of hot water, you’ve probably set your water heater too high! Before winter arrives, turn down your thermostat to somewhere between 110 and 120 degrees Fahrenheit and avoid scalding your hands every time you wash up.
  4. Make the switch - Check your furnace filter on a regular basis to make sure you change it when it’s visibly dirty or every 3 months. Also consider getting a semi-annual “tune-up” to your heating and cooling system from a qualified contractor to ensure savings over time.
  5. Insulate - The start of the cooler months is a good time to add insulation to your home. If your home uses less 12 inches of insulation, chances are your home is losing heat. Add insulation to your attic to prevent it from escape.  
  6. Run your fan the right way - Even the small things help! Make sure your ceiling fan is running counter-clockwise. The warmest air in your home is closest to the roof, so when your fan runs the right way it will push that air up into the ceiling and then down along your walls, adding an extra layer of warmth.
  7. Sun power - Open the curtains on your south-facing windows during the day to absorb heat from the sun’s natural rays. Pull them closed again at night to reduce the chill.
  8. Adjust the thermostat - Whether you have a manual or programmable thermostat, the Department of Energy (DOE) recommends a temperature of 68°F while you're awake and lower while asleep or away from home - that can save you up to10% a year on energy. To learn more about the options available, take a look at Department of Energy’s thermostat guide!