Reduce dryer use to reduce heating costsNo matter what source of heat — natural gas, oil, propane or electricity — it is expensive to heat your home. It’s more important than ever to make the most of the heat your furnace produces. About 45 percent of the energy used in homes goes toward heating and cooling, so running your system in the most efficient way, can make a big impact.
By: Lance Brower, NDSU Extension Service, The Jamestown Sun
No matter what source of heat — natural gas, oil, propane or electricity — it is expensive to heat your home.
It’s more important than ever to make the most of the heat your furnace produces. About 45 percent of the energy used in homes goes toward heating and cooling, so running your system in the most efficient way, can make a big impact.
There are a number of common-sense measures that can go a long way toward keeping energy bills manageable or even reducing them.
Here are a few tips that may help.
Install a digital thermostat to automatically reduce the heat while you are at work or sleeping. As much as 10 percent can be saved on heating bills by turning the thermostat back 10 percent to 15 percent for eight hours.
Most people won’t even notice the difference while sleeping.
Install an insulator blanket on your water heater. This can greatly reduce the effect cold air has on a heater located in a cool basement or garage. Insulation around exposed pipes leading to or from the heater also will conserve heat. Keep the furnace and water heater areas free of debris so air can flow efficiently, reducing the load on the systems.
Make sure the central point to which air goes into the furnace is clear and the door to that room is open so air can flow freely. Also be sure to have a clean filter.
Inspect your home for leaks that will let in cold air. Particularly feel for cold air coming in around doors, windows and electrical sockets, and seal off leaks or cracks. Windows are the least insulated parts of a home, and sealing off gaps with caulk or weather stripping or applying plastic to the windows can stop cold air from flowing in.
Make sure there is insulation on every portion of the ceiling and every outer wall. Ideally, ceilings should be insulated to an R-value of 49 to 60, a measurement of insulation’s effectiveness. Exterior walls should be insulated to R-value of 13 to 21. The Extension Office has an infrared thermometer that you can check out that will help you determine R-values. This is a good time of the year to measure R-values using the infrared thermometer.
Use your clothes dryer sparingly. In addition to using additional energy, dryers suck out heat from a room, causing the heating system to work harder. If you do use a clothes dryer do one load after another. This will save energy because the dryer is already warm.
(Lance Brower is the community, leadership, and economic development extension agent, Stutsman County office, NDSU Extension Service. Contact him at 252-9030 or e-mail email@example.com.)