Don’t let high home-heating bills bust your budget! Take a tour of your home to look for trouble spots and consider some energy-saving strategies.

Exterior walls, ductwork, and electrical boxes

Starting outside, check your exterior heating unit to be sure nothing is leaning against or draped over it. Circle your home and look for pipe, gas line, and electrical cable entry points. Is the caulk cracked or peeling? Repair these areas with new caulk and seal any large gaps with expanding foam. In your basement and attic, look for places in the accessible ductwork where the ducts may have pulled apart. Use metal tape or a mastic sealant to seal these areas. Electrical boxes located on exterior walls are drafty due to their lack of insulation. Remove the cover plates, then fill small gaps with acrylic latex caulk and large gaps with foam sealant.

Windows and doors

Lock your doors and windows to press them tight against their weatherstripping. Look for worn and torn weatherstripping that needs replaced. Then test how tightly each window and door is sealed by holding a candle flame near each one. If you spot an air leak, you can apply caulking or weather-stripping, or you may want to consider covering windows and unused doors (like patio doors) with an inexpensive, transparent plastic film. Adjust door thresholds to eliminate heat loss but don’t raise the threshold to the point where it interferes with opening and closing the door.

Filters, fans, and fireplace chimneys

Dirty filters make your furnace work harder, which means a higher heating bill. Aim to change your filters out once a month. Cut down on your use of kitchen and bathroom fans that suck out your home’s hot air, but increase your ceiling fan use. Since hot air rises, set your ceiling fan to spin clockwise at a low speed to bring the heated air back down to floor level. Your fireplace provides great warmth for your space when it is in use. Unfortunately, when it is not in use, warm indoor air can escape through the chimney. Block this airflow with an inflatable chimney balloon.

Lower (or upgrade) your thermostat

For every 1 degree you set your thermostat back, you can save 1% -3% on your annual heating costs. Setting back your thermostat by 10 to 15 degrees for eight hours a day (when you’re not home or when you’re sleeping) can cut your heating bill by 10% or more! A programmable thermostat can automatically adjust the heat to your chosen schedule, so you can set it and forget it!

Energy audits and checkups

Request an energy audit from your utility company to find out additional ways you can improve the efficiency of your home (often available for free or a small fee). Call Atlanta Air Care to schedule your heating unit’s annual checkup. We’ll make sure your furnace is running at its top efficiency so you can be sure your home heating bill is no higher than necessary.