NEWARK – Autumn has arrived and even though your heat may still be off, making a few changes around your home now can help lower energy costs when the weather turns colder. Some ideas to consider:
• Visit PSE&G’s Home Energy Toolkit at www.pseg.com/toolkit. The toolkit is full of ideas to help save energy and money on home appliances and heating systems.
• Have your heating system checked by PSE&G or another certified professional.
• Clean or replace the furnace filter on warm air heating systems.
• Close dampers in fireplaces you don’t use.
• Check for sufficient water levels in the sight glass for hot water and steam heating systems. This will ensure maximum efficiency from your heating system.
• Move furniture and drapes away from heating registers, radiators, and baseboard element covers. Open any register or baseboard dampers.
• Be cautious when using space heaters. Read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions and heed warning labels. Be sure all members of the household understand how to operate space heaters safely.
• Install low-flow shower heads and take a five-minute shower instead of a bath. The average household can save up to 25 gallons of water as well as the gas used to heat the water. Install water restrictors on your kitchen and bathroom faucets.
• Install compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). They last about 10,000 hours – 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs – and use 60-75 percent less electricity.
• Cover window air conditioners to reduce drafts. Install insulated or lined drapes on your windows.
• Use weather stripping or one-sided sticky tape to seal up cracks and stop drafts in windows and doorframes. Caulk smaller gaps. Beneath doors, install common draft guards available at hardware stores.
• Use a shrink film insulation kit on really drafty windows or make one yourself from plastic sheeting and double-face tape.
• Seal wall switches and electrical outlets with small foam gaskets available at home improvement centers and hardware stores. Remove the cover plate, insert the gasket, and screw the cover plate back in place.
• Consider using insulated door snakes to address air gaps under the front door and doors leading to garage areas.
Once you turn your heat on:
• Lower your thermostat by just one degree, which may reduce your heating bill by up to 3 percent. Save even more by lowering your thermostat 2 degrees during the day and 5 to 10 degrees at bedtime if health conditions allow.
• If you have a door leading outside from your basement, hang a full-size sheet of plastic from the door frame to keep heat from escaping. Seal windows in the basement with plastic to create a barrier against the cold. (Make sure you allow enough air supply to feed your fuel-burning appliances safely.)
• Keep your garage door closed if the garage is attached to the house.
• Never use a gas oven or range to heat a room. The appliance will deplete oxygen from the air, causing asphyxiation or deadly carbon monoxide poisoning.
If your budget permits:
• Install (or have installed) a programmable thermostat that you can set to automatically lower room temperatures when rooms are not in use and also at bedtime if health conditions permit.
• Install ceiling fans. They’ll promote heating efficiency in winter (and cool you off in the summer).
• Consider replacing older windows with newer, more efficient models.
For more energy saving tips, visit www.pseg.com/saveenergy to request a free Energy Savers brochure, and learn about a variety of payment options to help manage energy costs.
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