With frigid temperatures continually forecasted across the state, Energy Trust of Oregon has advice on how people can keep their homes warm and comfortable while managing their energy costs.
“Many people don’t realize it, but they could be wasting up to 60% of the energy they use to heat their homes due to inefficient equipment, poor insulation and air leaks,” said Scott Leonard, residential program manager, Energy Trust.
The heating system is the single biggest energy expense in most homes, but there are many easy, low-cost solutions that can help keep heating expenses under control:
- Monitor your heating output. At night or when no one is home, save on energy costs by lowering the thermostat setting. Energy Trust recommends keeping the thermostat at 65–68 degrees when you’re at home and 58–60 degrees at night or when you’re away.
- Invest in a smart thermostat. A smart thermostat can help make energy-saving changes automatically, keeping your home comfortable while helping you save money. Cash-back incentives are available for qualifying smart thermostats, including popular products from Google Nest and ecobee for customers of NW Natural in Washington.*
- Check air filters once a month. During the coldest months when your heating system is working its hardest, check your air filter. If it looks dirty, change it. A dirty filter will slow airflow and make the heating system work harder and waste energy. If you are running your heating system during spring and summer, change the filter every three months.
- Seal air and duct leaks and add insulation. The small gaps, cracks and leaks in a typical home can add up to the same loss of energy and comfort as leaving a window open year-round. Use caulk or spray foam to seal small holes and cracks, and use weather stripping and door sweeps to seal drafty windows and doors to increase comfort and save on heating costs.
- Use rugs to cover bare floors. If you have little or no floor insulation in your home, covering bare floors with rugs adds comfort and helps retain heat.
- Take advantage of natural heating options. Heat your home with help from the sun by leaving window shades or blinds open during the daytime. At night, close window coverings to help keep the heat in.
To find more ways to lower your energy use and costs even further, complete a free online Home Energy Review.
*Google Nest is a trademark of Google LLC. Cash incentives for smart thermostats are only available to Washington residents.