DIY Network

Tips on Saving Energy and Money

Blueprint for Home Building host Jeff Wilson shares some tips for saving energy and avoiding costly heating bills.

More in Electrical

add programmable thermostats to central system

A large portion of your energy costs will be devoted to heating your home. For this reason, it's important to make sure your heating system runs as efficiently as possible.

Here are some good tips for saving energy and avoiding high heating bills:

  • Before purchasing a furnace for your home, check its A.F.U.E. rating, which stands for the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency. Each furnace has this rating on it from the factory. The standard is about 80 percent, which measures how much heat goes into the home as opposed to going up the flue pipe. So if you have 80-percent efficient furnace, 80 percent of the heat generated in the heat exchanger is going into your home and 20 percent is going up the flue pipe and is not being used at all.
  • If you purchase a heat pump, you'll want to check its H.S.P.F. rating, which stands for Heating Seasonal Performance Factor. This rating works basically the same as the AFUE rating for gas furnaces. Based on a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 being the best), a minimum efficiency heat pump will rate approximately 6.6, while high efficiency units will have a rating of 8.0 or higher.
  • Change air filters for your heat pump or furnace on a regular basis. A dirty filter increases the air pressure drop in the system, which ultimately uses more energy or decreases the air flow to a point where the system isn't working properly.
  • Have your builder or a heating specialist check the heat ducts for leakage. An HVAC professional can repair any leaks or gaps that are found.
  • Weatherize your home by weather stripping or caulking around doors and windows. This will help keep heat from your system inside the home.
  • Add programmable thermostats to your central heating system. This will help save energy by not heating your home when you're away.
  • Keep obstructions away from heating vents. This will help promote better heat flow throughout the house.

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