Energy Hogs in Your Home

Cold thermometer
Posted at 5:30 AM, Nov 24, 2015
and last updated 2016-07-04 11:55:36-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) -- Good news from energy experts: Warmer temperatures and lower fuel prices should cut down heating costs this winter.  But they still warn against cranking up the heat.

In this Angie's List report, how to stay warm and save even more money as the temperatures drop.

Dan Welklin is a "comfort consultant." He pokes around attics and crawl spaces assessing "home performance" – the combination of HVAC efficiency and how well a house maintains its temperature.   

"There's no reason to upgrade to a high-efficiency furnace if there's something wrong with your duct work in the attic," said Welklin.

Welklin says sealing air leaks is the easiest and least expensive way to improve your home's energy efficiency. He suggests doing your own test to help find leaks.

"Turn on your clothes dryer, your bath exhaust vents and your kitchen exhaust vent and then go around everywhere in the home and feel for cold air leaks. The best time to do this is on a very cold day," he recommends.

Once you seal any leaks, shift your focus to the heating system. Change your furnace filter each month and be sure to get a furnace tune-up this fall.

Insulation is also key. Welklin says you need 10 to 12 inches in your attic. Any more than that may not be cost-effective.

And if you use a space heater, be careful! Improper use makes them the second leading cause of home fires... and running them constantly will hit you hard in the wallet.

"A $15 space heater running 24/7 could add over a $100 a month to your bill," said Welklin.

Remember to use your fireplace wisely. It feels great when you're next to it, but it can allow a lot of cold air in.

Also, install a programmable thermostat and lower your home's temperature by at least three degrees from where you normally keep it for eight hours or more to see noticeable savings.

 Remember you can catch the latest Angie's List report every Tuesday morning on WTXL Sunrise.