Winter Heating

1 Ensure an efficent system. Change furnace filters regularly to keep your air clean and to ensure maximum air flow. If your home, apartment or condo unit has an individual furnace or boiler, have it inspected by a professional. A furnace that works properly will be more efficient and less likely to fail. "For maximum savings, ask the service person for tips on ways you can maintain your system yourself,"

2 Turn down the heat. If your health permits, lower the thermostat to 68 degrees (or even lower). For every one degree the thermostat is lowered, heating costs decrease by up to 5 percent. At night, or when the home is empty, lower the temperature as far as possible while protecting your health and the safety of pipes. If necessary, stay cozy with an electric blanket.

3 Program the temperature. Make furnace settings automatic by installing a programmable thermostat. These devices cost about 40 dollars. While simple to install, Trotter Power will be happy to help you with the installation of a new thermostat

4 Save hot water energy. Turn the temperature on the hot water heater to 120 degrees or, if yours is equipped only with a scale, turn it down a notch. Most people can save up to 10 percent of water heating costs, maintaining plenty of hot water (and the water will be less likely to cause accidental scalding). If the hot water heater is situated in a cool area, consider adding an insulating jacket to help maintain water temperatures and reduce heating time. Insulate the first few feet of pipe that transport hot water from the water heater. If you need to replace a water heater, consider a tankless or "on-demand" unit. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates these appliances are 8 percent to 34 percent more efficient than conventional hot water tanks.

5 Insulate. Carefully inspect your home for drafty spots where cold air can enter. The most common culprits are doors and windows. Install weather stripping and door sweeps to block drafts. Add old-fashioned "draft dodgers" for a quick fix at exterior doors. Other common areas for air leaks are locks, outlets, air conditioning units and recessed light fixtures. Cover outside vents, including air conditioning units. If possible, install insulated electrical outlet boxes and light fixtures. The Energy Star program offers a free guide to home insulation at

6 Shop around. Those who purchase fuel oil have a choice of energy providers. Do compare prices to obtain the lowest rates.

7 Turn ceiling fans to blow air up, and keep on low. Doing this allows warmer air to circulate better around the house, and maintanes a more even temperature by providing more efficent heating

8 Take a tax credit. In 2009, homeowners who add certain efficiency measures to their homes can take a tax credit of up to 10 percent of the cost of the materials used, up to $500 per home. Learn more at

We hope that this guide has been helpfull. For questions, comments, or to schedule an appointment please see our contact us page for details