As temperatures outside plummet, the cost of home heating can soar—and we’re not just talking about financial costs. Heating your home with fossil fuels also comes with a high cost to the environment. In fact, the Union of Concerned Scientists ranked “home heating, air conditioning and water heating” as the fourth “most harmful human activity” to the environment in an analysis of common consumer activities. While that chilling fact may send shivers down your spine, fear not. A quick walk through your home with our “winter warmer” checklist will ensure that you can rest easy—and warmly—knowing that you’ve done your part to minimize the eco-impact of heating your home.
1. Clean and replace your furnace’s air filter. Do this once a month during the heating season.
2. Tune up your HVAC equipment. Do this every one to two years, depending on what type of heating system you have.
3. Program your thermostat for energy efficiency. Try setting your thermostat at a reasonable 68 degrees. Or better yet, install a programmable thermostat, which will automatically turn the heat up when you need it and keep it low when you don’t.
4. Seal and insulate your heating ducts. This can improve the efficiency of your heating and cooling system by 20 percent or more.
5. Consider installing energy-efficient heating equipment. Consider replacing your furnace with an energy-efficient model. Or, try out an alternative heating method, such as an EPA-certified wood stove.