The fact that we need heating in wintertime, or at any point throughout the year where it is extremely cold or damp should be reason enough to find viable ways to lower heating oil consumption, especially since energy costs are always rising of late. A smart consumer, whether that is a homeowner, a renter, or a landlord, should do his/her best to learn the ways that will lower heating costs and, at the same time, doing his/her part to save the environment by reducing greenhouse gases. In addition to these tips, we also have eleven tips for conserving heating oil consumption.
Top 7 Tips to Lower Your Heating Oil Consumption
- Invest in an energy efficient furnace. Just like old kitchen or laundry appliances use excessive amounts of power to operate, so too does an old furnace. Upgrading to a newer, more efficient one will save you a ton of money over its lifetime. Look for ENERGY STAR furnaces, which are governed by the federal government, meaning they must meet strict guidelines to earn that coveted name. Such an appliance will simply perform better, saving you the equivalent of $66 each year in energy costs, including $11 saved in electricity required to operate the furnace. Taking advantage of tax credits or grants will also save you more money.
- Improving insulation. One of the biggest problems in any structure is heat loss. The average home, according to statistics, can have a gap as large as a 9 square foot hole, which is almost the equivalent of your front door being wide open all the time! Improving your insulation will be one of the wisest decisions you’ll ever make, paying itself off in just a few years, and allowing you to enjoy a more comfortable home with greatly reduced costs. Having said that, it is important to address even the smallest hole or drafty area, so this includes caulking around exterior doors and windows, added insulation in the attic, special insulation pads for exterior wall outlets, and more.
- Replacing older windows. Windows are of the biggest openings in any home, and older windows simply can’t keep the cold out and the warm air indoors like the newer windows on the market. Double or triple glazing and other improvements have made windows much more efficient today, than ever before. Certainly, they come with a high price tag, but they provide more comfort and beauty to a home, so they will also add value to the property, which means they will provide a great return on the investment. The fact that they will keep out the cold and reduce any heat loss means that you will also benefit from lower heating oil consumption. Moreover, there are government grants in place, from time to time, that help homeowners make the change more affordable.
- Window Insulator Kits. If you can’t afford new high-performance windows, at least invest in these kits. They are readily available, very affordable, and can save you a few hundred dollars over the winter season, depending on the amount of windows in your home. They are also easy to install, and will make your home less drafty by creating a barrier to keep out the cold air.
- Programmable thermostats. Using programmable thermostats can save you approximately $200 each year! Don’t believe the myth that you will use the same amount of energy to heat up your home to the comfortable temperature after it was reduced during your absence. Instead of getting home and having to wait for temperatures to return to normal, a programmable thermostat can take care of this before you arrive at home. Just set it to a higher temperature about a half hour or an hour before your return. Remember to reduce the temperature at bedtime too, as you are comfortably warm under blankets!
- Be wise with your window treatments. Thermal window treatments, as well as shutters, can reduce drafts and thus, make a room more comfortable. With so many options on the market, you have nothing to worry about with regards to your decor. Shutters, or blinds, regardless of whether they are made of wood, faux wood, or PVC, will be able to provide this added heat loss barrier. These window treatments can act like the window kits above, and will provide added benefits when using both combined.
- System maintenance. Protect yourself and your pocket with the proper maintenance of your heating system. In addition to the monthly filter changing, you must conduct an annual checkup on the furnace. If it is operating properly, then you will be saving money. However, if something is not functioning accordingly, it could cause the system to work overtime, and that will undoubtedly cost you more to operate. At the same time, if it works harder, it could end up in need of repair, which will end up costing you even more. So, be a wise consumer and do what’s right.
Of course, there are different consumers that make the world go round, meaning some will take a proactive approach, while others will simple pray for a warmer winter. The bottom line is that crude oil cost projections for this year are estimated at 10% higher than last year, so you should brace yourself, whether it is a cold winter or not. The biggest culprit is the rise in crude oil prices. Some experts predict that the barrel could soar to $100, and that cost to oil companies will simply be passed down to the average consumer. Therefore, doing your part will help you, even if it means spending a little to save a lot. Do the math, and you will see that significant savings can be had.
Another smart move is to lock into a price cap for the fuel you’ll need. Companies allow this and it can really keep costs in check, so you should consider it. Although there is the risk that you MAY pay a slightly higher price at some point, in the end, you’ll come out a winner, ensuring your price per gallon will never exceed your agreed price cap. Finding the best oil delivery company in Stroudsburg will also help. Whatever the case, at least you will be able to budget yourself throughout the cold winter months without added the stress of unpleasant surprises that could dramatically increase your heating costs. A smart consumer will do all he/she can to lower heating oil consumption in every possible way, meaning more money for other things.