How to Reduce Your Home Winter Fuel Costs

Judie Docs, Executive Officer
CSP, CMP, CGP, MCSP, MIRM
North Coast Building Industry Association

It is that time of year when temperatures drop, and home heating bills often go up. As a
homeowner, you can reduce your winter fuel costs in several ways, ranging from
simple, inexpensive changes to significant home modifications. Here are some simple
tips to stay cozy, comfortable and keep your winter fuel costs down this winter.
Thermostat Settings
You don’t have to wear your coat inside your house to lower your heating bills. During
the winter months, experts recommend strategically adjusting your thermostat. You can
adjust your thermostat manually or install a programmable thermostat to do it
automatically on your chosen schedule. Adjusting the thermostat to be as low and
comfortable as possible when you are at home and awake can help save on home
energy consumption.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), it pays to think in eight-hour
segments. You can save as much as 10 percent a year on your home heating and
cooling costs by turning back your thermostat seven to 10 degrees from its standard
setting for eight hours daily. Setting the temperature slightly lower when you are asleep
or away from your home can also generate savings, so an extra blanket can help you
save on your heating bill. Experts also recommend taking advantage of the heat from
the sun during the day, which allows sunlight to heat your home naturally.
Reduce Air Leaks
The best way to keep your home warm is to not allow heat to escape the inside of your
home. By sealing uncontrolled air leaks in your home, an average household can save
10%-20% on heating bills. Two easy ways to prevent air from leaking in your home are
by using weatherstripping and caulking. Weatherstripping works best for movable
components in your home, such as doors or windows. The best place to start is by
checking your exterior door frames. Replace any weatherstripping that is deteriorated or
cracked. If you have drafty windows, install tight-fitting, insulating drapes or shades.
Another way to reduce air leaks in your home is to seal cracks and gaps. It is best to
use caulk, a flexible material that works best on non-moving surfaces. For example,
caulk can help seal cracks in areas when window frames meet the house structure.

Beyond DIY
The best way to pinpoint what will reduce your home’s overall energy consumption is to
hire a professional energy auditor to evaluate your home and identify all the
inefficiencies. Hiring a professional requires an initial investment, but it will save you
money in the long run.
In addition to showing where to tape, caulk and seal areas in your home, the audit may
suggest improvements that require a significant investment and a professional to
address. Adding insulation or upgrading to energy-efficient appliances and products
such as new HVAC systems and high-performance windows will also help lower your
heating bills.
We are your local not-for-profit trade association representing member companies
involved in all aspects of home building, remodeling, and other aspects of services
available to help you in the future as well as more information on the above topic. So,
you can see it is for your protection that you use a NCBIA member. If you are unsure
that your contractor is a member of the NCBIA or you are looking for a list of NCBIA
members, you can visit our website at www.ncbia.com – go to Members and then
Member Search, or call 440-934-1090. We also have a job posting board (under the
industry tab).
Visit our 24/7 Virtual Parade of Homes!!! Allows you to look at some of our builders’
new homes and communities on your mobile device or computer at your leisure
(including our remodelers) We know time is our greatest asset and via our NCBIA
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fits your lifestyle. The Virtual Parade of Homes is open online 24/7.  Many of the homes
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are looking to tour the actual homes. You can click through to builder websites to see
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