Heating and Cooling account for 56% of the energy used in a typical home and a significant amount of energy in a business. On October 12, Will County is offering a half-day seminar for businesses to learn a variety of ways they can save energy and extend the life of existing equipment through better maintenance practices. For more info see: http://www.willcountygreen.com/business/greening_business_seminars.aspx
For homeowners, this is the time of year to clean the furnace and ducts as we shut ourselves inside during the cold winter.
- Of course the easiest thing to do is turn the thermostat down to 68 degrees Fahrenheit and wear a sweater, wear socks or a night cap! Throw a blanket on the back of the couch and use it when watching TV. Consider setting the temperate lower at night or when no one is home.
- Replace the furnace filters once a month for energy and air quality improvements.
- Seal the windows, sliding glass doors and outside wall outlets. It may sound odd, but most outside outlets have no insulation and cold air blows through easier than you imagine. Insulation kits are available at many home improvement stores and only require the ability to use a screwdriver to save some energy and cash.
- Open the drapes each morning to enjoy some passive solar, then close them at sundown for some added insulation.
- While you might use the fireplace on special occasions, most of the time, it takes more heat out of the house than it adds. So, consider using a piece of insulation in conjunction with closing the damper to block any heat loss and save energy.
- Consider installing a programmable thermostat and programming it. This will automatically set your heat lower and higher so your home gets warmer as you wake, cooler when you leave for work, warms again around the time you return home and coos as you go to bed. They include separate settings for weekend routines.
- If you do need a new furnace, buy an Energy Star rated system and check with Nicor to learn how to qualify for their rebate programs.
- More tips at http://www.willcountygreen.com/greenguide/energy_utility_assistance.aspx