Leaves are starting to turn and temperatures are finally beginning to cool. It's a great time to start preparing your home for the cold winter months ahead.
The Office of the Ohio Consumers' Counsel (OCC) offers a comprehensive fact sheet detailing basic energy efficiency tips that can help you save money on your utility bills throughout the year. Consumers can access this information by downloading A customer guide to improving home energy efficiency athttp://www.pickocc.org/publications/factsheets-smart_energy.shtml.
Early fall is when Ohioans turn off their air conditioners, open their windows and enjoy the fresh air. But as temperatures continue to dip, consumers start using their furnaces for the first time in several months. This is the time to check your furnace filters to make sure your furnace will run at maximum efficiency.
Not all furnace filters are equal so its best to check the manufacturer's instructions to guide you as to how often they should be replaced. The dirtier the filter, the harder the furnace will have to work to provide warm airflow. Dust and dirt particles released into the home by a poorly performing furnace can also create a problem for people with breathing difficulties.
A professional tune-up for your furnace is advisable every few years, to ensure it is in good working order. If your furnace is 10 years old or older, an annual tune-up is recommended. A typical furnace tune-up includes making sure the blower is clean and properly lubricated, checking the fan belts and wiring for cracks, and most importantly examining the furnace area for the presence of carbon monoxide.
For consumers with hot water heaters, a different but equally important level of care is advisable. First, check the temperature setting. The ideal reading should be no higher than 120 degrees. The OCC also recommends wrapping an insulation blanket around older water heaters to prevent heat loss. Attaching foam insulation around water pipes to prevent them from losing heat or freezing is recommended.
These are simple and relatively inexpensive steps that consumers should begin to think about this fall. Following these tips should result in better appliance performance and, hopefully, lower energy bills throughout the winter.
Stay tuned for more energy efficiency tips and a run-down of Ohio utility-run energy efficiency programs in the Nov./Dec. issue of Consumers' Corner.
Reposted with permission from the Ohio Consumers' Counsel. Marty Berkowitz, author. Original article: http://www.pickocc.org/news/2012/newsletters/sept.shtml#story2