Winter is here and Tampa Bay homeowners are looking for ways to heat their homes without breaking the bank on energy bills. The average family spends $2,200 a year on energy bills, nearly half of which goes to heating and cooling. Whether you live in Brandon, Plant City or Riverview, replacing your old heating and cooling equipment with equipment that’s earned the ENERGY STAR can cut your annual energy bill by more than $200. In addition to saving money, reducing energy use at home can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help fight climate change.
ENERGY STAR offers the following five tips to help you save money on heating bills, keep your home comfortable, and protect the environment:
- Assess your home @ energystar.gov. Start with the Home Energy Yardstick to see how your home’s energy use measures up compared to similar homes across the country. Then, use our Home Energy Advisor to get recommendations for energy-saving home improvements for typical homes in your area.
- Seal air leaks in your home. Sealing air leaks with caulk, spray foam, or weather stripping will have a significant impact on improving your comfort and reducing energy bills. If you are adding insulation to your home, be sure to seal air leaks first, to ensure you get the best performance from your insulation.
- Maintain heating equipment. Dirt and neglect are the number one causes of heating system failure. Maintain heating equipment by checking your system’s air filter every month and changing it if it is dirty. At a minimum, change your filter every 3 months. Also, schedule pre-season checkups of your equipment with a licensed contractor to make sure your system is operating at peak performance.
- Use a programmable thermostat. Regulate your home’s temperature while you’re away or asleep by using one of the convenient pre-programmed settings on a programmable thermostat. When used properly, programmable thermostats can save you up to $180 every year in energy costs.
- Look for ENERGY STAR qualified products. Whether you are replacing light bulbs or appliances in your home, ENERGY STAR qualified products can help you save energy and reduce energy bills. The label can be found on more than 60 types of products ranging from heating and cooling equipment to compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). Also, look to EPA’s ENERGY STAR program for advice on other ways you can save at home such as using power strips as a central ‘turn-off’ point for electronics and office equipment, making sure computers and monitors are “powered down” when not in use and reversing the blade rotation on ceiling fans to help spread warm air around a room.
If every American household serviced their heating and cooling systems, changed their air filters, sealed and insulated heating and cooling ducts in unfinished areas, and programmed their thermostats for energy savings while they are away or asleep, we would save $14 billion in annual energy costs and prevent more than 160 billion pounds of greenhouse gases, equivalent to the emissions from 14 million cars.
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