3 keys to curb winter energy costs

To save the most money possible this winter on your heating bill, should you buy multiple space heaters, layer in five sweaters, or line your windows with tin foil? Not necessary, according to industry experts, who recommend better ideas to stay warm while being energy savvy. Three ways to start:

1. Keep your house at 68-degrees F when people are home and awake, and 7 to 10 degrees less when you’re away or sleeping, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recommends. This will save 10 percent on heating bills. The DOE adds, “If you use an electric blanket on your bed, you’ll never even notice the lower temperature change.” Installing a programmable thermostat helps automatically reset the temperature.

2. Check your air ducts to insure they aren’t leaking heat, advises Tom Eppers, co-owner, Dowe & Wagner, a heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) company serving residential and commercial customers in Illinois and Wisconsin. Ductwork is the system of tubing that transports heated or cooled air throughout the house. If it’s leaking, improperly insulated, or narrowed with debris, the HVAC system has to pump harder to compensate for the heat loss. Having the ductwork professionally inspected could save energy, which translates to a lower utility bill.

Avoid other hot air leaks by closing your fireplace damper when not burning a fire, to prevent heat escaping through the chimney.

3. Boost insulation to your home. Ductwork isn’t the only place where heated air can travel out. Un-insulated attics can allow warm air to flow outside, wasting money. Sealing cracks around window and doorframes can also help retain a home’s heat, states EnergyStar. Consider installing insulating drapes or shades on drafty windows. Caulk and weather-stripping are low-cost tools to prevent heat loss. Some experts also recommend insulating your water heater to conserve energy.

Dowe & Wagner : 11215 Commercial Street, Richmond, IL 60071 : 815.678.3000 : http://doweandwagner.com/