Archive for the 'heating bills' Category

Reduce your energy bill


Its cold and you want to keep your heating bills at a sane level without freezing.

The state of New Jersey is offering a program that allows homeowners to receive rebates up to $4,000 and interest free financing up to $10,000 for energy upgrades to a residential property – Home Performance with Energy Star (HPwES)

see link for more details


Lower your heating bill

Wabbit season, Duck season, HEATING SEASON!

Free, Low Cost and Significant Investments in Lowering your Heating Bills


Free Steps to Reduce your Heating Bill

1) Save 3% on your heating bill for every one degree lower you set the thermostat

2) Close the fireplace damper

3) Lower the temperature of the water in your water heater to 115-120 degrees

4) Keep heating vents clear.  If they’re blocked by carpeting and furniture you get less circulation of warm air

5) Open curtains on the south side in the day to let in sun, close them at night to keep in the heat

Low Cost Steps to Reduce your Heating Bill

1) ‘Envelope’ Leaks – The gaps around windows and other areas taken together in the average American house equal a 9 square foot hole in the wall.  Plugging them can save you 10% of your heating bill.   Find the leaks with an incense stick held to the areas you believe to be drafty and watch for the smoke, Or if it’s really cold outside, just run your hands by the suspected areas and you will feel the cold air. Prone areas: Window and door frames. air ducts, chimney flashing, recessed lighting, sill plates,and electric outlets.  To fix these leaks buy door sweeps, caulk, caulk gun, or tacky rope and go to work.  Apply weather stripping for the outlet gaskets.

2) If the insulation in the attic is not up to the top of the joists, add more…  Make sure your attic’s vent stays open to prevent condensation/moisture.

3) Ducts: Make sure the heating ducts are well connected and you’re not losing heat before it even gets to the vents…  Use metal back tape instead of duct tape.  Make sure the ducts are insulated if they travel thru unheated areas.  Swaddle the water heater if it’s in an unheated area.

4) Winterize Windows – After you’ve caulked the frames, if you can’t afford double hung or storm windows, put clear plastic film on those windows for an effective extra layer of insulation.

5) Install a low-flow shower head for less than $20.  You will use 25% less hot water saving on both water and heating bills

6) A programmable thermostat costs $50-$100.  Program it lower when you’re not home and higher when you are.

7) In your furnace replace easy things like the air filter.

Investments to reduce your heating bill will pay off

1) Oil fired boilers should be cleaned and tuned annually and gas systems every two years for approximately $100-$125. Gas fired need attention too.

2) Replace appliances, heating units, light fixtures and bulbs with hi efficiency replacements. If your furnace is over 20 yrs old replace it with Energy Star (federal government program promoting energy efficiency).  Homeowners who make energy efficient improvements to exisiting homes qualify for a 10% tax credit up to $500.  A credit is a dollar for dollar reduction in taxes, compared with a deduction which only decreases taxable income.

3) A decent vinyl window might cost $100-$150 and a double paned window with a good ‘e or r’ rating can cost $50-100 more.  This will add up when you have 15  windows, but replacing the twenty year old windows may be the move that cuts into your heating bill most substantially. Windows also usually qualify for a credit or deduction.

4) Other Improvements that can qualify for deductions/credits include adding insulation, door and skylights

5) Tax credits and other financial incentives also exist for changing to solar water heating and photovoltaic equipment. Solar for pools and hot tubs do not  qualify.

Energy Audit


Energy Audit - Infrared and Blower Door


Even though it’s warmed up considerably, we’re still receiving two more heating bills. Air conditioning season begins in mid-June and drives up the electric bill.  So, recently I wanted some professional affirmation of the best ways to lower bills in both seasons… An energy audit.   Felt like my house was having a physical.

The energy expert comes to your home and examines attic and wall insulation, windows, the furnace itself and the whole building ‘envelope.’  In addition to visual inspection, two fun ‘toys’ are involved.  First was a “Blower Door test” which actually put a fan/blower in a frame in the doorway to suck the air out your home in order to measure pressure (in pascals) and let you know how ‘tight or leaky’ your home is.  The other toy is even cooler, an infrared camera which he points at most of the walls, corners and ceilings so you actually see the temperature in color (red/orange for warm and blue/green for cold). Parts of my walls were as low as 56 degrees even though the thermostat indicated that room temperature was 65.  I could certainly improve ‘the envelope’ which would also enable us to keep the air conditioner settings lower in the summer.

In November I had already done the inexpensive stuff.  I re-insulated my attic and went on the warpath caulking around windows and doors, replacing door sweeps and other door and window paraphernalia.  That dropped my bills by about $75 a month.  I’m hoping to bring it down even further, so next year the auditor suggested replacing my ancient (but attractive) windows, making a few attic repairs and fixing one or two ‘envelope areas’ would net me the most heating bill savings.  The following year perhaps we’ll be blowing insulation into the walls.

Home Energy Diagnostics  973-680-1244 
National Energy Audits  1-866-438-3637
CM Burrows, Inc. 1-866-BURROWS (287-7697)
Green Living Solutions 201-390-4280
Home Energy Tuneup  201-530-1553

Home Inspection Technologies  609-835-0101