What Can I Do?
The cooler temperatures of autumn and winter are just around the corner. Here are some tips from the U.S. Department of Energy to help you save energy as the thermometer dips. Learn more about programs and actions you can take to reduce your energy bill.
Fall and Winter Energy Saving Tips
Take advantage of heat from the sun: Open curtains on your south-facing windows during the day to allow sunlight to naturally heat your home, and close them at night to reduce the chill you may feel from cold windows.
Cover drafty windows: Use a heavy-duty, clear plastic sheet on a frame or tape clear plastic film to the inside of your window frames during the cold winter months. Make sure the plastic is sealed tightly to the frame to help reduce infiltration. Install tight-fitting, insulating drapes or shades on windows that feel drafty after weatherizing.
Adjust the temperature: When you are at home and awake, set the temperature as low as is comfortably possible. When you are asleep or out of the house, turn your thermostat back 10° to 15° for eight hours and save around 10% a year on your heating and cooling bills. A programmable thermostat can make it easy to set back your temperature.
Find and seal leaks: Add caulk or weatherstripping to seal air leaks around leaky doors and windows. Seal the air leaks around utility cut-throughs for pipes, gaps around chimneys and recessed lights in insulated ceilings, and unfinished spaces behind cupboards and closets.
Maintain your heating systems: Find out what maintenance is required to keep your heating system operating efficiently and schedule service. Replace your furnace filter once a month or as needed.
Reduce heat loss from a fireplace: Keep your fireplace damper closed unless a fire is burning. Keeping the damper open is like keeping a window wide open during the winter; it allows warm air to go right up the chimney. If you do use the fireplace, install tempered glass doors and a heat-air exchange system that blows warmed air back into the room.
Lower your water heating costs: Water heating accounts for about 18% of the energy consumed in your home. Turn down the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting (120°F). You'll not only save energy, you'll avoid scalding your hands.
Learn more from the Department of Energy at www.energy.gov.
Setting your Thermostat Saves Energy
Naperville residents can save as much as 10 percent a year on heating and cooling by simply turning their thermostats back 7° to 10°F for eight hours a day from its normal setting. The percentage of savings from setback is greater for buildings in milder climates than for those in more severe climates.
You can easily save energy in the winter by setting the thermostat to 68°F while you're awake and setting it lower while you're asleep or away from home. In the summer, you can follow the same strategy with central air conditioning by keeping your house warmer than normal when you are away, and setting the thermostat to 78°F (26°C) only when you are at home and need cooling. Set your thermostat at as high a temperature as comfortably possible and ensure humidity control if needed. The smaller the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your overall cooling bill will be.
Although thermostats can be adjusted manually, programmable thermostats will avoid any discomfort by returning temperatures to normal before you wake or return home.