Home Heating

  • Drapes save energy effectively only if they fit tightly against the window and the floor. Usually this means a valance at the top, side guides and a weighted hem. Or, try adding in edge seals such as Velcro or magnetic strips. Other window coverings can be effective energy savers, but only if they fit snugly on the windows. Even a vinyl shade can cut heat loss in half. More elaborate shades, such as quilted curtains, can cut those losses by 80 percent. Venetian blinds are the least-effective energy savers because they have so many gaps.

  • Keep draperies and shades on south-facing windows open during the heating season to allow sunlight to enter your home. Close them at night to reduce the chill you may feel from cold windows.

  • Keep fireplace dampers closed when they aren’t needed. Warm air will rise up the chimney and escape when the fireplace is not being used. Fireplaces with glass doors are most efficient.

  • Set your thermostat to the lowest comfortable setting. Keep the temperature fairly constant, as frequent changes will use more energy.

  • Clean or replace furnace filters once a month or as needed.

  • Clean warm-air registers, baseboard heaters and radiators as needed. Make sure furniture, carpeting or drapes do not block them.

  • Use kitchen and bath ventilating fans wisely. Turn these fans off as soon as they are no longer needed. In about one hour, these fans can pull out a houseful of warmed air.

  • About 10-15% of heat loss occurs through the attic. In Wisconsin, 15-20 inches of insulation are recommended (R-49).

  • Instead of turning up the heat, put on a sweater or sweatshirt. Keep a throw or blanket near your couch or favorite chair for extra warmth while reading or watching television.

  • Evergreens on the north side of your house can provide shelter against cold winds and can lower your heating bill. If you plant in the fall, make sure you plant a tree with a root ball to ensure it survives the winter.

  • Remember to remove window awnings in the fall. The shade they provide will make it harder for your home to remain warm.

  • Storm windows and doors are energy and money savers. They can reduce heating costs by as much as 15% by preventing warm air from escaping to the outside. Double glazed and thermopane windows or even clear plastic across windows can also help minimize heat escape.

  • Insulate heating ducts and hot water pipes that provide heat to the rooms in your home. This will reduce heat loss in uninsulated areas and will help your heating system work more efficiently.

  • Seal cracks between the frame and the siding around doors and windows with caulk. Up to 15 % of the energy you pay for can be lost through these areas. Place your hand at the bottom of the exterior doors in your home. If you feel cold air, then you are losing heat. A temporary measure to stop heat loss involves simply rolling a towel and placing it up against the bottom of the door.