Winter has officially arrived here in New Jersey, and despite the unseasonably warm temperatures we have seen so far this young season, we know that the cold will come –and with it will come higher heating bills from your propane deliveries.
If you want to keep those bills as low as possible in the months ahead, here are some suggestions for how to do it.
- Weatherize – Air leaks around doors and windows, and through walls, ceilings, and other cavities can cost you hundreds of dollars in energy bills each year – not to mention the negative impact that overwork will have on your heating equipment. Simple solutions like weather-stripping, door sweeps and caulking are cost-effective solutions to fighting air leaks – as is proper insulation (see #5 below).
- Use your programmable thermostat – Using a thermostat to alter temperatures when you are away from home or asleep could save you up to 10 percent on your heating bills, says the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). When you’re at home and awake, aim for a temperature of 68 degrees for the best balance of comfort and energy efficiency.
- Use the sun to your advantage – Leave your curtains and blinds open during the day to absorb the sun’s heat, the close them at night to keep the heat in. Choosing better window treatments can help, too.
- Lower the temperature on your water heater thermostat – The default setting of most water heater thermostats is higher than it needs to be for comfortable showers and effective dish, and clothes, washing; 120 degrees is enough for most hot water applications in your home.
- Add insulation – Most homes – especially older ones – are under-insulated. A one-time investment in proper insulation can cut your energy bills by up to 10 percent every year – more than enough to offset the cost of installation. Check out these DOE insulation tips and guidelines.
- Reduce hot water usage – Did you know that about 20 percent of your energy bills comes from heating hot water for your appliances and taps? Cut down that hot water usage and your bills will drop too! Installing low-flow showerheads and aerators will cut your hot water use in half from those appliances. Try using the cold setting on your washing machine as well: today’s detergents work equally well on cold and warm settings.
- Service your equipment – Preventative maintenance is the key to keeping your heating systems and other equipment operating at peak efficiency month after month, year after year. Avoid the temptation to skip it!
- Upgrade electrical appliances to propane – Most of today’s high efficiency propane heating equipment performs significantly better than its electric powered counterparts. If you’re replacing a 10-year-old electric water heater with a tankless propane model, for example, you could save as much as 50 percent on your energy bill – enough to offset the investment in a new unit in just a few years.