As the winter season approaches, we all enjoy the inviting warmth of our homes. But did you know that in addition to comfort, winter energy efficiency also plays a vital role in affordability, reliability and safety? Learn how these simple energy efficiency tips can be powerful allies during the coldest months of the year.
Carbon Monoxide Detectors and Smoke Alarms
Safety goes hand-in-hand with energy-saving tips. Installing carbon monoxide (CO) detectors and smoke alarms is crucial because this toxic gas is colorless and odorless. Carbon monoxide poisoning is responsible for approximately 400 deaths and more than 20,000 emergency department visits in the United States annually. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends placing CO detectors outside each bedroom and smoke alarms on every level of your house. Regularly check the batteries and replace them at least twice a year to ensure they function correctly.
Heating Equipment Inspection
The average single-family household spends about 53% of its energy-related expenditures on heating and cooling, or about $92 billion annually for the whole country. It's essential to ensure that your equipment is in top shape for maximum energy efficiency. Schedule a professional inspection of your natural gas heating equipment, including the furnace, boiler, and water heater. A qualified technician can ensure everything is operating efficiently and safely, helping to prevent potential issues down the line. Don't wait until winter has arrived; be proactive and book your appointment now.
You can save money on your energy bills simply by resetting your thermostat when you are asleep or away from home. A programmable thermostat can help make this a convenient, automatic change. Save up to 10% yearly on heating and cooling by dialing your thermostat back by 10 degrees for eight hours a day.
Monthly Filter Replacement
Maintaining your heating equipment doesn't stop at inspections. Replace your air/furnace filter monthly during the heating season to reduce energy consumption by 5-15%. Clean filters mean your system doesn’t work as hard to heat your home, translating into energy savings. Use your monthly natural gas bill as a reminder to replace or clean filters.
Caulking and Weather-Stripping
One of the most effective ways to keep your home cozy and energy-efficient is by sealing any gaps or leaks. Reducing drafts can save up to 20% per year. Common culprits include doors, attics, windows, plumbing penetrations and electrical outlets. Use caulk and weather-stripping to insulate these areas, preventing warm air from escaping and cold air from infiltrating your home. To identify trouble spots, try the candle test. Light a candle near a window or door, and if the flame flickers or is pulled toward a specific area, you've found a draft that needs sealing.
A typical household can save about $450 on energy bills by choosing ENERGY STAR each year. It is estimated that ENERGY STAR and its partners have helped American families and businesses save more than $500 billion in energy costs since 1992. In fact, Washington Gas is proud to be a four-time recipient of the ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year award.
More Cold Weather Energy Tips
- Close vents in unoccupied rooms to redirect heat where it's needed.
- Close your chimney flue when not in use to prevent heat from escaping.
- Use smart plugs to control holiday lights efficiently.
- Harness natural sunlight by opening your drapes on sunny days and closing them at night.
- Consider insulated drapes to trap heat and keep cold air out.
- Run ceiling fans clockwise to circulate warm air near the ceiling back into the room.
Preparing your home with energy-efficient practices saves money while keeping your family safe and comfortable. Here’s to a winter of being energy-savvy! For more Washington Gas winter efficiency tips, visit https://bit.ly/winter-preps.
Energy Assistance: You Have Options
If you're struggling to manage your gas bill, assistance is available! For example, you may qualify for a federal Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) grant to help pay your energy bill. Many other federal and state assistance programs can also use your LIHEAP application to provide additional aid, so this can be one of the most valuable actions you can take to receive energy assistance. Learn more at washingtongascares.com.
In addition, the Washington Area Fuel Fund (WAFF) is a partnership between Washington Gas and The Salvation Army that has distributed more than $33 million over the past 40 years to more than 300,000 area families with heating their homes. If you are a qualifying resident, you can receive assistance regardless of your energy provider. Get more details at https://www.waffhelp.org.
Washington Gas also offers various payment plans and services to help you manage your energy costs effectively. From automated payment plans to budget plans, there are options to fit your needs. Visit our website or call 844-WASHGAS to explore the full range of services available.