There are plenty of things that we love this time of year: extra chocolate in the grocery stores, the first few daffodils making their way into local greenhouses; longer days with more daylight; and a groundhog that, without fail, pops his head up every year to report on the weather.
There are, of course, things we don’t like as much: freezing car steering wheels; potholes in the road caused by relentless ice and snow; and higher-than-normal energy bills as the heat stays on and the days stay cold.
The Sponsors of Mass Save want to help you save money on your energy bills, no matter what the weather may be outside. With that in mind, here are a few heating tips you and your family will enjoy all year long:
Minimize air leaks.
According to the Department of Energy, the average home has about 2 ft.2 worth of air leaks, the equivalent of leaving a window half open 24 hours a day. That’s a lot of hot air escaping your home and your heating system must compensate by running more.
Sealing air leaks – along with adding insulation – is one of the most effective ways to reduce your energy bills, improve the efficiency of your heating and cooling systems, and enhance the comfort of your home to keep you nice and warm during the cold winter months.
There are some things you can do to minimize leakage, like caulk or weatherstrip around doors and windows, keep the flue closed when not using your fireplace, install storm windows, and cover your kitchen exhaust fan when not in use. Mass Save residential customers, if eligible, can take advantage of 75-100% off approved improvements in addition to having air leaks sealed in drafty areas of your home at no-cost.
Seal your heating and cooling ducts.
Ducts that move air to and from a forced air furnace, central air conditioner, or heat pump often result in loss of energy. Sealing and insulating ducts can improve the efficiency of your heating and cooling system by as much as 20 percent — and sometimes much more.
If you are interested in having your ductwork evaluated, contact a professional contractor who can evaluate your ducts for improvements. For additional information, you can review the ENERGY STAR® Duct Sealing brochure.
Consider a high-efficiency upgrade for your heating equipment.
Stay cozy and save energy by upgrading to high-efficiency heating equipment. A heat pump water heater can significantly reduce your monthly water heating costs. Residential customers of Mass Save Sponsors can receive a rebate of up to $600 if they have a licensed plumber install a qualified heat pump water heater when replacing an existing electric storage tank water heater, or building a new home.
Beyond the rebate, a heat pump hot water heater is a smart investment for your home that pays off every year. The units cost more upfront, but real savings come from lower operating costs. A family of four, for example, can see electric bill savings of around $300 annually, according to ENERGY STAR®.
These savings are a result of heat pump water heaters being two to three times more efficient than a conventional water heater. While a conventional electric resistance water heater uses energy to generate heat, a heat pump water heater saves energy by transferring heat.
Customers that heat their home with natural gas can consider upgrading to a high efficiency condensing boiler, which saves a significant amount of energy by condensing water vapor in exhaust gases and recovering latent heat that would normally be lost up the flue. Qualified gas heating systems upgrades could be eligible for rebates of up to $2750.
Program your thermostat.
If you haven’t done so already this winter, spending 10 minutes programming your thermostat can help you save as much as 10% on heating costs. These settings can help you save energy by reducing your heating and cooling when you’re away from home and asleep. The best part? You only need to set it one time. With smart thermostats, you don’t even need to be home to do so! After that you can rest easy, and more comfortably without a second thought.
Residential customers can take advantage of Mass Save discounted prices and rebates on their thermostat upgrades.
For even more heating tips and cozy energy savings potential, take advantage of our programs and rebates for Massachusetts residents, from the Sponsors of Mass Save.