BINGHAMTON, New York — The falling leaves and shorter, colder days mean your home heating systems have begun operating again. As cold weather enters our region, ensuring your home is as energy efficient as possible should be a top priority. Using energy wisely can increase the comfort of your home, help the environment and reduce your energy costs
“There are many ways to improve the energy efficiency of your home,” said Michael Del Negro, Supervisor of Conservation and Load Management Programs at NYSEG. “Each season has different energy needs, so some of the energy changes you implemented this summer won’t affect usage and cost in the fall and winter months. At NYSEG, we want to assist our customers by educating and bringing awareness to what adjustments they can make to help reduce their energy consumption and costs.”
To help promote a smart energy mindset to manage utility bill costs, Del Negro recommends customers engage in these five actions.
Turn down the temperature
Set your thermostat as low as comfort permits—each degree lowered can save an average of 3% on your heating bill. Save even more energy by lowering your thermostat at night while you and your family sleep. If you own a smart programmable thermostat, make the most of its ability to automatically turn down the temperature to save energy during periods when sections of your home are unoccupied. If you don’t already own one, consider installing a programmable or smart thermostat this season.
Change filters regularly
Whether you use a furnace or a heat pump to keep your home warm, check and clean or replace filters periodically. Dirty filters make your home heating system work harder, expending more energy. Additionally, it’s important to have your heating systems inspected and tuned up annually by a professional—inefficient heating systems can increase fuel consumption.
Seal your ductwork
Houses with forced-air heating systems use ducts to distribute conditioned air throughout the house. In a typical house, however, approximately 20% of the air that moves through the duct system is lost due to leaks and poorly sealed connections. This can result in higher energy use. Typically, leaks can be repaired easily and inexpensively with duct tape or can be professionally sealed to more effectively eliminate leaks.
Insulate your attic
One of the most cost-effective ways to make your home more comfortable year-round is to add insulation to your attic. Homes heated by natural gas and oil should have at least six inches (R-19) and for homes heated by electricity, you should have at least 12 inches (R-36). The US Environmental Protection Agency estimates that homeowners can save an average of 15% on heating costs by adding insulation in attics, crawl spaces and accessible basement rim joists.
Take advantage of available resources
Whether you own or rent your home, there are many resources available to manage your energy savings. Take advantage of energy saving programs, rebates and incentives to make your home more energy efficient. NYSEG has energy tips, resources and programs available for residential and business customers on its website at YourEnergyNYSEG.com.