Winter in Philadelphia can be downright bone-chilling, but don’t let plummeting temperatures translate into soaring expenses when it comes to heating your home. Try some of these expert-recommended ideas to save on the cost of staying warm during those cold winter months.
Reading, PA-based UGI suggests these energy-saving tips:
- On sunny days, keep the blinds open throughout the house to let the sun shine in and provide a bit of natural warmth, even in the dead of winter.
- Use outdoor-use spray foam or caulking to seal cracks and openings around windows, doors and spots where plumbing goes into the walls.
- Turn those ceiling fans on this winter. Operating ceiling fans in a clock-wise motion at a slow setting will redirect all that naturally-rising heat down, right back into the living area.
- Close the damper on your fireplace when not in use to keep the warm air inside your home from escaping up the chimney.
- Keep those air registers and vents clean so that they can most effectively do their jobs.
- Have your heating system checked each year for efficiency, and if your furnace is more than 15 years old, consider swapping it for a new, energy-efficient model that will pay for itself over time by helping to cut heating costs.
The US Department of Energy suggests adding insulation to your home in key areas to improve heating efficiency. These areas include walls, attics, basements, floors and crawlspaces. Of all of these areas, adding insulation to your attic may make the biggest impact when it comes to conserving heat. If your attic is well-insulated and has proper air-sealing but your home still feels drafty, you may need to add insulation to the exterior walls, crawlspaces or basement.
Weather-stripping is an easy way for anyone to reduce air-leakage by sealing between moveable building components – doors and windows – and the home’s structure. This energy-saving practice helps keep warm air from leaking out of your home and energy dollars from leaking out of your wallet.
Philly-based PECO suggests switching to high-efficiency appliances to conserve resources, both heating and financial, and benefit from rebate programs in the process. Older furnaces and boilers often use 65 percent of every energy dollar, while standard-efficiency units use 78 percent of each energy dollar. Today’s high-efficiency units, on the other hand, use 90 percent or more of each energy dollar to more efficiently heat your home. In addition to the lower fuel expenses realized with these high-efficiency furnaces and boilers, PECO offers Philly-area homeowners a $300 rebate to offset the cost of the unit’s installation as long as it meets with the listed ratings guidelines. For homes switching to high-efficiency water heaters, PECO provides a $50 rebate – reducing your out-of-pocket expenses as well as your home’s carbon footprint.
Christy Ayala covers sports, recreation, the outdoors, and leisure activities in the Philadelphia area. She earned a masters degree in recreation administration from George Williams College and managed programs in the Midwest, Hawaii, and Pennsylvania. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.