Five Action Steps to Cut Natural Gas and Propane Use

With winter time right around the corner here are some steps you can take to reduce the amount of energy that you’re using to lower your bill. Here are some suggestions.

Turn your thermostat down to 68 degrees. For every degree in the 60-degree to 70-degree range you lower your heat ,you’ll save up to 5 percent on heating costs. Try wearing warm clothing like a sweater and setting your thermostat to 68 degrees or lower during the day and evening. Set the thermostat back to 55 degrees or turn it off at night or when leaving home for a long period of time, saving 5-20 % of your heating costs (heat pumps should only be set back 2 degrees to prevent unneeded use of backup strip heating).

Replace or clean your furnace filters every month. Dirty filters will restrict the flow of air and increase your energy use.  Keeping your furnace clean, lubed and properly adjusted will reduce energy use, saving you as much as 5 % of heating costs.

Reduce your hot water temp. Set your water heater to the “normal” setting or 120-degrees, unless your dishwasher requires a higher setting. This can save you 7-11 percent of water heating costs. Insulate the first 5 ft of pipe extending from the top of your water heater or the entire length until the pipe enters the wall if that is less than 5 ft. You can find pipe insulation  at your local hardware store.

Seal up all the leaks. Caulk any leaks you see around windows and doors. Look for areas where you have pipes, vents or conduits that go through the floor , wall, or ceiling. Check in your bathroom, under your kitchen sink, and pipes inside a closet. If you find any gaps where the pipe or vents goes through the wall, caulk them up.

You should consider replacing your old gas appliances with an ENERGY STAR® rated water heater or furnace. If your gas water heater is over 12 years old, you should consider replacing it with a newer, more energy efficient model. The best indicaton of the efficiency 0f a water heater is the Energy Factor (EF). The higher the EF, the more efficient the water heater. If your furnace is more than 15 years old, consider replacing it with an newer ENERGY STAR rated model that is about 15 % more efficient than standard models.

Also contact your natural gas utility or visit their website for additional ideas, rebates and incentives.