For many homeowners, home heating fuel is essential especially during the cold winter months. In the United States specifically, 80% of homeowners in the Northeast rely on heating oil to keep their houses warm, according to figures published by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). The Maine Energy Marketers Association reckons that the average home consumes about 850 gallons of such oil annually. According to the EIA, this translates to $2,300 during the winter alone. The good news is Stroudsburg homeowners can reduce heating expenses by taking certain steps. For starters, you can read our article, How do I find a good heating oil company. Additionally, here are the top 11 steps to conserve heating oil:
Turn Your Thermostat Down
Most people set the thermostat at home too high. It is advisable to lower the thermostat when you leave for work or go on holiday. In fact, the Department of Energy reckons that lowering the thermostat dial by just one degree can reduce your oil costs by as much as three percent. When you return from work, you do not have to turn the thermostat dial high again. Instead, you can wear a heavy sweater and woolen socks. These will help you stay warm.
Use Weather Stripping to Seal your Home
Cracks or open spaces around the doors and windows normally affect the amount of oil you have to use to heat up your home. In other words, the more openings that allow heat to escape, the more oil you will have to burn to keep your home warm. For example, a gap of about 1/8″ around the door is equivalent to a two-inch hole. This is why closing these gaps makes financial sense. Statistics from the Department of Energy show that sealing these spaces could potentially reduce the amount of oil you use to heat up your home by as much as 30% annually.
Install a Programmable Thermostat
Even if you are well organized, it is easy to forget to turn down the thermostat everyday as you leave your home. To make sure that does not happen install a programmable thermostat that will automatically regulate the temperature during the day, as well as during the night. By taking this approach, you could potentially end up saving $150 annually on heating fuel costs, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Keep your Furnace Well Maintained
The furnace that burns oil to heat your home requires regular maintenance. A tune-up will ensure your oil furnace is efficient both in terms of performance and fuel consumption. To start with, consider upgrading your oil furnace if you have an older version. Modern oil furnaces are much more efficient due to advances in heating technology. The Energy Communications Council (ECC) reckons that replacing an oil furnace that is more than 20 years old can cut heating expenses by 15%. In addition, ensure the furnace filters are clean.
Pay for Your Oil Early
Just as any other fuel commodity, heating fuel prices depend on supply and demand. Figures from the Department of Energy show the price of heating oil increased by 22% in 2012 compared to the same period in 2011. Therefore, you should purchase your oil early to avoid paying more for it. For example, you can buy heating fuel from a Stroudsburg company that has a fixed price program in place. This allows one to buy the oil at a fixed price regardless of price changes in the future. You can also use a capped program to cut heating expenses. Unlike the fixed price program, this sets a price cap that a heating fuel supplier cannot cross, so even if the price of oil rises sharply, the suppliers cannot charge you more than the agreed amount.
Insulate Water Pipes
During winter, water pipes tend to freeze leading to loss of heat. To compensate for the lost heat, you have to burn more oil to keep your home warm. To avoid such a situation, you should insulate all accessible water pipes inside your home. Common materials used to insulate water pipes include neoprene foam, polyethylene, as well as fiberglass strips. If you can get presplit pipe foam at your local hardware shop, you can use it as well. The insulation will prevent the pipes from freezing.
Do not Block the Radiators
If there are pieces of furniture in front of the radiators, remove them. This is to ensure that circulation of heat inside is the home is uniform. In addition, make sure the radiators are clean by cleaning out dust that might have accumulated over time using a brush.
Install Storm Doors
Besides using weather stripping to seal your home, it is also wise to install storm doors. These make it harder for cold air to seep into your home from the outside. According to the ECC, storm doors can increase energy efficiency by as much as 45 percent. At the same time, they do not block light from entering inside your home.
Close all Vents and Unused Rooms
Most Stroudsburg, PA homeowners have rooms that they do not use such as attics and spare bedrooms. Obviously, you do not have to heat these rooms if no one is using them. The rule of thumb is to close the room completely. In addition, cover the vents inside unoccupied rooms to reduce the amount of heat used to heat your home. Do not forget to seal the space at the bottom of the door, which you can easily do using a rug.
Caulk Exterior Spaces
Caulk any exterior spaces around windows and doors at home to reduce loss of heat.
Carry out an Energy Audit
One way of finding out if your home is losing heat is by carrying out a comprehensive energy audit. Hire a professional to conduct the energy audit and possibly recommend what you need to do in order to reduce loss of heat.
Without home heating oil Stroudsburg homeowners would be unable to live inside their homes during winter. However, the cost of keeping your home warm can be quite high. This does not mean that you have to suffer in silence. Steps that you can take to reduce heating expenses include insulating water pipes, sealing your home with weather stripping, buying oil from heating oil contractors early, installing a programmable thermostat, installing storm doors, as well as closing all unused rooms completely.