1. Change your furnace filter
• Indoor air pollution ranks among the top five environmental health risks. Comparing minimum efficiency report value ratings is a good way to begin to comparing filters. Home air filters have MERV ratings that range from zero to 16. A pleated filter with a rating of at least MERV 8 is better for airflow, which is going to help your HVAC system operate more efficiently while still protecting your air quality. Generally speaking, the cheaper the filter is, the lower the MERV number is. Not only will your family be healthier, but you won’t have to dust the knickknack shelves every other day either.
• Filters should be changed every two to three months.
• Buying single filters can end up costing you almost twice as much as buying in bulk.
2. Keep drafts out.
• Seal windows and doors with weather stripping or caulk.
• An 1/8-inch crack is the equivalent of drilling a 5 ½-inch hole in an outside wall. Cracks can account for up to half of your home’s heating costs.
3. Insulate your water heater
• If your unit is in the garage or an outdoor closet, where the external temperature is significantly different than the hot water heater itself, a hot water heater blanket is a smart choice to retain heat and reduce wasted energy. Also your pipes should be insulated to and from water heater if they are located in outside temperatures.
• Insulation blankets are made up of a variety of materials – from foil and fiberglass to denim – depending on how much insulation your hot water heater needs. They’re rated on their R-value, which measures thermal resistance. The higher the R-value, the more insulation it will provide.
• Lower water temperature to 120 degrees or less.
• This will save you about 7 to 16 percent in water heating costs.
4. Set ceiling fans to clockwise
• In the winter, ceiling fans should rotate clockwise at a low speed to pull cool air up. The gentle updraft pushes warm air, which naturally rises to the ceiling, down along the walls and back the floor.
• Saves as much as 15 percent on heating bills.
5. Clean out gutters.
• Use gutter guards that are easy to remove, repair or replace.
• Gutter cleaning prevents water damage from occurring to your home and shields your home against roof leakage and expensive repairs.
6. Close foundation vents.
• Save money by keeping heat in and cold out of your crawl space. A portion of that air will move upward into your home, making for a cold, drafty first floor.
• If you don’t have closeable vents, try using foam blocks or coverings to close the opening. But make sure to remove them when the weather warms up. For a more permanent solution, there are vents that automatically open and close based on the temperature.