Heating and cooling can account for more than 50% of your home's energy use. Weatherization and other cold-weather tips can help you lower your winter bills without resorting to lowering the thermostat. For instance, you can save about 10% on their bills by sealing air leaks and adding insulation.
Source of tips: EnergyStar.gov.
Furnace and Boiler Rebates
Ever wonder why your energy bill goes up and down?
How can I prepare to save on my energy bill as the temperatures fall?
Do you want your home to be more comfortable this winter? Schedule a Comprehensive Energy Assessment.
Install a programmable thermostat and set it at 68 degrees Fahrenheit or lower - the recommended setting for winter. Through proper use of pre-programmed settings, a programmable thermostat can save you about $180 every year in energy costs.
Lowering Your Temperature
Dress appropriately for the weather and on cold winter nights, put an extra blanket on the bed and lower your thermostat another degree or two to save even more.
Check out our DTE Rebate Program to learn how you can get money back for buying a new thermostat.
Changing Blade Direction
In the winter, run ceiling fans in the opposite direction going clockwise at the lowest speed to slowly circulate heated air.
ENERGY STAR® Ceiling Fans
ENERGY STAR®-certified ceiling fan/light combination units are 60% more efficient than conventional fan/light units, which can save you more than $15 per year on utility bills and use improved motors and blade designs.
ENERGY STAR® Lighting Kit
If your fan doesn't include lighting, be sure to purchase an ENERGY STAR®-certified light kit. This lighting is efficient and long lasting, so you won't have to make frequent bulb changes.
Seal then Insulate
You can save about 10% off your total energy bill by sealing air leaks first, followed by adding insulation. Seal air leaks using caulk, spray foam, or weather stripping. Weatherizing your home this way is one of the most cost effective ways to improve energy efficiency and comfort.
Sealing Hidden Leaks
Air can leak out of your house around windows, doors, skylights, and other openings. If you add up all of the hidden air leaks in your home, they can equal a hole the size of an open window! To maximize home efficiency, seal all the gaps where air can leak out.
Although some types of floor coverings will naturally feel cold on bare feet, insufficient insulation or air infiltration could be the cause for cold floors. Air sealing and insulation can help stop drafts and improve the comfort of your home. Contact a heating and cooling contractor to check if your heating and cooling system is providing enough air to each room.
Sealing with Fire-Resistant Materials
Seal air leaks around fireplace chimneys, furnaces, and gas-fired water heater vents with fire-resistant materials such as sheet metal or sheetrock and furnace cement caulk.
Ensure the roof has adequate ventilation to avoid ice blockages. In the winter, warm, moist air seeps into the attic from the living space below.
It is more important, from a structural integrity standpoint, that an attic be properly ventilated than insulated. Of course, both depend on the other to function correctly. If the heat is not ventilated, it can build up on the underside of the roof causing snowmelt. As a result, water runs down the roof to the eave, where it typically is not over a heated attic, turning colder. The water then refreezes causing an "ice-dam" allowing water to back-up under the roof shingles causing leaks. The house can also be damaged from ice weight and failing ice.
Adding Solar Panels
Harness the power of the sun. Consider adding rooftop solar panels to your home.
Keep the Air Flowing
Make sure that rugs, drapes, or furniture are not blocking air flow to heating/cooling registers or baseboard heaters. Also keep them clear of paper, files and office supplies.
Turn Off Fans
Turn off kitchen and bath and fans within 20 minutes after you are done cooking or bathing. Also, when replacing exhaust fans, consider installing high-efficiency, low-noise models.
Sealing Air Leaks
Check your ductwork for air leaks, especially at joints. Seal off air leaks with foil faced tape rather than duct tape.
Clean or replace the air filter regularly. Filters reduce the amount of dust and dirt that flow through your ductwork and into your home.
Wrap ducts in insulation to keep them from getting cold in the winter.
Seal and Insulate
If you have heating/cooling ductwork that is located in an unconditioned space - such as the attic, a crawlspace, or unfinished basement - seal leaks and insulate it. Check to ensure that hanging flexible ducts are supported every four feet with an inch and a half wide or wider, hanging strap.
Close Fireplace Damper
Tightly close fireplace damper, unless a fire is burning. Keeping the damper open is like having a window open during the winter.
Fireplace Door and Chimney Cap
Install a tight-fitting fireplace door and chimney cap to prevent cold air from entering your house. Even better, install a fireplace insert with a blower motor for added heating efficiency.
Gas logs are an affordable way to revamp a wood-burning fireplace. With efficiency ratings as high as 75%, natural gas fireplaces are an economical way to heat selected rooms in your home.
Install insulated drapes or blinds to keep warm air inside. In the winter, keep the draperies and blinds on your south-facing windows open during the day to allow the sunlight to enter your home and closed at night to reduce the chill and drafts.
Plastic Window Sheeting
Seal the leaks! It may be too cold outside to caulk around windows, but you can still install low-cost, clear plastic window sheeting over leaking windows to keep cold air out. The plastic must be sealed tightly to the frame to help reduce infiltration.
Replacing old windows with ENERGY STAR®-certified windows lowers household energy bills by an average of 12% nationwide. Lower energy consumption also reduces greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and shrinks a house's carbon footprint.
Check out our DTE Energy Weatherization programs to see if you are eligible for the Home Performance Program or the Insulation and Windows Program.
Maintain your equipment to prevent future problems and unwanted costs. Keep your heating system at peak performance by having a contractor do annual pre-season check-ups and DTE provides rebates to help offset the cost! Contractors get busy once winter comes, so it's best to check the heating system in the fall.
Clean or replace furnace and air filters regularly – filters should be cleaned or replaced at least every three months. Dirty filters block air flow, causing your furnace and central air conditioning to work harder and less economically.
If your furnace is about 12 years old, a new furnace may be more efficient and will save you more money.
An undersized furnace will not heat your home properly. An oversized furnace will cost more to purchase and operate. Check with your contractor to find the right size furnace for your home.
Use the Furnace Calculator to find out how much you could save with a higher efficiency furnace and use the DTE Rebate Program to learn how you can get some money back for buying a new furnace.
Look for an ECM
Choose a high-efficiency gas furnace with an Electronically Commutated Motor (ECM). A furnace with an ECM uses less electricity because it adjusts its speed to ensure optimal airflow at all times. Traditional furnace motors run at only one speed -- high.
Look for a High AFUE Rating
Look for an Energy Guide label with a high Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating. The AFUE rating measures the overall energy performance of a furnace or boiler. An AFUE of 92% means that 92% of your energy dollar becomes heat for your home and 8% escapes up the chimney and elsewhere. The higher the AFUE, the more you get for your energy dollar. Replace your old furnace or with an ENERGY STAR®-qualified model that will cut your heating costs by as much as 30%.
Change your air filter regularly. Check your filter every month, especially during heavy use months in the summer. At a minimum, change the filter every 3 months. A dirty filter will slow down air flow and make the system work harder to keep you warm or cool - wasting energy.
Too Much Moisture
If you have a humidifier, check it regularly for proper operation. It could be adding too much moisture to your indoor air.
In the U.S., humidifiers use approximately 0.11% of the total electricity consumed by households each year. The portable humidifier category is composed of three subcategories, each with their own benefits and characteristics: ultrasonic, cool mist and warm mist.