Your Money MattersConsumer Reports


Consumer Reports: Home tips to save money this winter

House heating.JPG
Posted at 4:00 AM, Dec 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-16 06:00:54-05

TUCSON, Ariz. - For easy energy savings, turn down your thermostats, either manually or using smart or programmable ones. Dial the temperature back by ten to fifteen degrees whenever you’re away from the house for a long period of time. Next, keep warm air inside with weather-stripping and draft blockers around doors and windows. Use caulk or expandable foam sealant to fill bigger openings around windows. And insulated outlet covers keep drafts out for just pennies apiece.

“Don’t waste money heating crawl spaces and other unused parts of your house," says Consumer Reports Home Editor, Paul Hope. "Uninsulated ductwork does just that. It’s worth hiring a pro to wrap ducts with insulation.”

Dirty furnace filters reduce air flow, and can lead to pricey repairs. During the cold season, check your furnace or heat pump filters monthly.

“An inefficient furnace or boiler uses more energy to work harder," says Hope. "It’s worth hiring a pro to come once a year to tighten electrical connections, inspect valves, and lubricate moving parts, all of which will help the system work more smoothly.”

A wood-burning fireplace can keep you toasty when it’s lit, but over 90% of the heat they generate can go out the chimney, along with heated air from the room!

“Consider retrofitting it with a more efficient gas insert, or with an EPA-certified wood fireplace insert," says Hope.

Those drafty spots around the house really can be a money-waster. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, if you added up all the cracks and gaps in a typical home, the energy loss would be the same as having one window open all the time. So, get that weather-stripping in!