1. Change your furnace filter - If a furnace filter is doing its job, it collects all sorts of dust and particles. Over time the filter becomes filled with these particulates which reduces its ability to clean the air and decreases the furnace performance. Change it every 30 days to make sure your furnace will operate as effectively and efficiently as possible.
2. Set your programmable thermostat – Keep it set at a lower temp in your home when no one is there and while you are sleeping. It is much easier to bring your home up to a certain temp than to maintain a temperature through the day. You can purchase a programmable thermostat that is not expensive but will work fine and you can see the difference in your next heating bill.
3. Inspect exterior windows and doors – Doors and windows are one of the most common places to lose heat (i.e. money) during the winter months. Test for drafts and fix with weather-stripping, caulk, or window plastic.
4. Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors – Make sure they are working properly and have fresh batteries.
5. Change the direction of your fans – Creating an updraft will help maintain a more consistent temperature in your room without feeling the draft of it being in the downdraft selection.
6. Insulate your water heater – Many older water heaters can have a “water heater jacket” installed to insulate them which requires them to work less. If yours is older, research the product to determine if yours should be insulated.
7. Inspect vents to make sure they are clear – Make sure that your furnace, water heater, bath fan, hood vents are operating freely and not impeded. You can observe this be being on the outside of the vent while the appliance is running. You are getting the most effective performance and least use of energy when your vents are clear.
8. Check your attic insulation for settling – Insulation settles after a while. If you can see the ceiling joists, there is a good chance you need more.
9. Clean gutters and downspouts – Make sure the melting snow has somewhere to go. This will prevent ice dams reduce the possibly of water entering your home and damaged being caused to your gutters and roofing materials.
10. Switch out regular light bulbs for compact fluorescents – As your existing incandescent bulbs burn out, consider installing new CF’s (compact fluorescents) as they are more energy efficient. Remember that most CF’s do not work with dimmers and are slow to power up when installed outdoors in the winter months.