How to heat your home eco-consciously

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The good news is saving money on heating means you're also using less energy, which is good for the planet. Here's how to heat your home eco-consciously with Patty Kim from National Geographic's The Green Guide.

How to heat your home eco-consciously

These simple home heating tips are "win-win" propositions -- you use less energy and save money.

  • Furnace filters need to be replaced or cleaned every month to work efficiently. Keeping your furnace lubricated and properly adjusted with regular maintenance will save you 5% on your annual home heating bill.
  • If you lower the water temperature from the typical 140 degrees to 120 degrees you not only prevent scalds, you can eliminate 479 pounds of carbon from polluting the atmosphere. (And you’ll do even better if you switch from an electric heater to one fueled by natural gas!)
  • Ceiling fans save energy in both summer and winter. In winter, reverse the motor so the blades rotate clockwise, and run the fan at low speed. This creates a gentle updraft which forces warm air near the ceiling down into your living space. For cooling, consider adding a whole house fan to your ceiling fans. An attic fan draws warm summer air up and out through a vent in the roof.
  • A humidifier can help keep your home warm as the moisture it creates will increase the heat index, making 68 degrees feel like 76. You need to maintain a relative humidity between 30 and 50% to keep condensation off the windows. And don’t forget to turn down the thermostat.
  • Installing high efficiency energy star rated windows can reduce heating and cooling costs by as much as 15% year after year.
  • Put your electric water heater on a timer that turns it off when nobody’s using it.
  • Install an energy star rated programmable thermostat for your heating and central air conditioning system. It can save you up to $100 a year.
  • Turn your thermostat up or down manually. In the winter, every degree lower between 60 and 70 degrees will save you 5% on heating costs.
  • Close vents and doors of vacant rooms.
  • Keep the damper on your fireplace closed when it’s not being used in the winter. You’ll avoid losing up to 8% of your home’s heated air.
  • Consider landscaping changes to help use energy more efficiently. For example, planting deciduous trees on the south-facing side of your house will shade your windows during the summer and reduce thermal load, but admit sunlight during the winter to provide solar heating and reduce energy bills.
Transcript

Hi I'm Patty Kim from the Green Guide for howdini. With gas and oil prices going through the roof, you can afford to let their heat go through the roof too? Well I can show you how to heat and cool your home economically, saving money and saving the planet from some greenhouse gases.

Well let's start with the furnace. Furnace filters need to be replaced or cleaned every month in order for the furnace to work efficiently. Keeping your furnace lubricated and properly adjusted with regular maintainence will save you about 5% on your annual heating bill.

Over here is the water heater. Now if you lower the water temperature from the typical 140 degrees to 120 degrees, you not only prevent scalds and burning yourself, but you can also stop almost 500 pounds of carbon from polluting the atmosphere. And you'll do even better if you switch from an electric model to one fueled by natural gas. Now there are some simple gadgets that can save you real money. You can put your electric water heater on a timer that turns it off at night when no one's using it. And you can install an energy star rated programmable thermostat for your heating and central air conditioning system that has save you up to a $100 a year.

Now even without a programmable thermostat you can still keep your eye on costs by remembering to do some simple things. Turn the thermostat up or down manually. You see in the winter, every degree lower between 68 and 70 degrees will save you 5% on heating costs.

Close vents and doors in vacant rooms and if you've got a fireplace, keep the damper closed when it's not being used in the winter. That way you'll avoid losing up to 8% of your home's heated air. And get a humidifier. Now you might not think that having a humidifier around can actually help keep your home warm, but the moisture it creates will help increase the heat index making 68 degrees feel more like the mid 70's. The one thing you've got to remember though is you've got to maintain a relative humidity between 30 and 50% to keep condensation off the windows. And don't forget to turn down the thermostat.

Ceiling fans are great. They're energy savers in both summer and winter. And here's a handy little trick: in the winter if you reverse the motor so that the blades actually rotate clockwise running on a low speed, the fan's actually going to create a gentle updraft which pushes all that warm air that's near the ceiling down into your living space.

And finally, replacing windows is a big job and it can be expensive, but it can also be worth it. Installing high energy star windows can reduce heating and cooling costs as much as 15% year after year. These are techniques anyone can use. You can reduce your energy bills and your carbon footprint at the same time and everybody wins. I'm Patty Kim from the Green Guide for howdini.

meet theexpert
  • Patty Kim

    Patty Kim Correspondent, National Geographic's The Green Guide Patty Kim is an award-winning filmmaker and journalist. She is served as a host and anchor for National Geographic as well as reporting for the PBS television program “Nova Science Now.” more about this expert »

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