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Keep your house cozy this winter without breaking the bank.

According to energy.gov, heating your home requires more energy, and costs more money, than any other system in your home—up to 30 percent of your annual utility bill. With the rising cost of everything, especially the cost of fuel, you need a good strategy for lowering your bills.

Here are some easy solutions for keeping your heating costs down this winter, from least to most expensive. It all starts with lowering your consumption.

According to energy.gov, heating your home requires more energy, and costs more money, than any other system in your home—up to 30 percent of your annual utility bill. With the rising cost of everything, especially the cost of fuel, you need a good strategy for lowering your bills.

Here are some easy solutions for keeping your heating costs down this winter, from least to most expensive. It all starts with lowering your consumption.

Set your thermostat to 68 degrees.

ENERGY STAR recommends 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius) as the ideal balance of comfort and energy efficiency when you’re at home. To save up to 10 percent a year on heating costs, turn your thermostat back 7 to 10 degrees while you’re away from home. Today’s programmable and smart thermostats, like the Trane ComfortLink II XL1050 can do this for you automatically. So, you can set it and forget it.

Place your thermostat properly.

Whether you have a programmable or standard thermostat, it makes a big difference where you put it in your home. The best place is an interior wall near the center of the house. The worst places are areas that receive direct sunlight, above air vents, in kitchens, and next to doors or windows.

Open your curtains and blinds.

When it’s sunny outside, invite Mother Nature to help keep your house warm by opening your curtains and blinds. Even on the coldest days, direct sunlight can generate a lot of heat and give your furnace a breather. When the sun sets, be sure to close your curtains and blinds.

Seal doors and windows.

Each year you should check each door and window for gaps, loose glazing or caulking around windowpanes, holes in window frames, and other potential sources of air leaks. Sealing gaps and cracks around doors and windows can make a huge difference in keeping energy costs low, and you don’t have to be an experienced carpenter to do it. You just need a little time, a tube or two of silicone caulk and some easy-to-install foam weatherstripping—all of which you can find for relatively low cost at your local hardware store.

Run your ceiling fan clockwise.

If you have a ceiling fan, run it clockwise at a low speed, and keep it running. The clockwise direction creates a gentle updraft that brings cool air up and pushes warm air down to circulate throughout the house.

Check/add insulation.

Without proper insulation in your attic or crawlspace, your heating system will have to work harder to keep your home at the desired temperature, which means higher utility bills. Even if you have what seems to be sufficient foam insulation, keep in mind that it can start to lose its effectiveness after only a year. Insulation products have come a long way in recent years, so if you have an older home and haven’t checked your insulation in a while, it will be more than worth your while to have new insulation professionally installed. You’ll start seeing a return on that investment almost immediately.

Upgrade to a high-efficiency HVAC system.

If your home HVAC system is more than ten years old, it doesn’t have the seasonal energy efficiency rating (SEER) that is now standard. For comparison purposes, today’s 20 SEER unit is 43 percent more energy-efficient than a 14 SEER unit. Considering that most systems installed before 2006 are 10 SEER or lower, you could save as much as 62 percent in annual energy costs with a new HVAC system. Your True Blue heating and air conditioning professionals can help you start saving a lot of money in the near future by installing a new, ultra-efficient Trane system today.

For other ways you can save on heating and cooling costs year-round, contact the helpful professionals at True Blue Heating & Cooling. Don’t forget to ask about our year-round HVAC maintenance plan.