Simple Weatherizing Tips Yield Warmer Houses and Lower Fuel Bills
October 16, 2002
ATLANTA, Ga. - As the leaves turn and a hint of fall chills the air, it's time to think about weatherizing your home in order to make more efficient use of your heat and to control heating costs. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) predicts that growing energy demands and predicted colder-than-usual temperatures will see higher natural gas prices this winter than the winter of 2001-2002.
Atlanta Gas Light Company (AGLC) has some tips to help its natural gas customers keep the chill at bay and manage their heating bills.
"The investment of a few hours time will pay off for homeowners," said Isaac Blythers, president of AGLC. "We want to help people make their homes more energy efficient. A little weatherization work will not only save money, but it will prevent energy from being wasted."
Blythers suggested that if you need help weatherizing your home, you should contact a heating and air conditioning contractor or a home improvement specialist.
Tips for consumers:
- Have your furnace checked to make sure it is working at optimum capacity. Now is a good time to have your other fuel-burning appliances such as gas stoves and water heaters examined as well.
- Check the furnace thermostat and pilot light to confirm that they are functioning properly.
- Lower your thermostat at night and when you are not going to be at home for several hours. Close off unoccupied rooms; close heating vents in those areas.
- Set the thermostat for 72 degrees F. in the daytime and drop it to 65 degrees at night. Not only will you save on energy costs, your house will not feel overheated.
- Consider installing a programmable thermostat, which can be a big energy saver. Different temperature settings can be programmed for different times of the day and night or even days of the week.
- Change the disposable filters in your furnace before you turn it on for the winter. Remember to change the filters several times during the season.
- Make sure your smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detectors are working. You should have an alarm and a detector on each floor of your home. Check the batteries regularly.
- Check for appropriate insulation in the walls and attic. If your basement is unfinished, the floor above the basement should be insulated.
- Find out if your insulation has the correct R-value, which is a measure of insulating value. The higher the R-value, the greater the insulation ability.
- Close the damper on your fireplace when it's not in use.
- Insulate pipes so they won't freeze.
- Add weather-stripping and caulking to windows and doors. As much as 30 to 40 percent of a house's energy load is attributed to outside air penetrating the home.
- Add weather-stripping tapes that adhere directly to door and window frames for a tight seal.
- Add a door sweep for more insulation.
- Lower your water heater's thermostat setting to 120 degrees.
- Wash clothes in cold or warm water, not hot.
- Install a low-flow showerhead to save on hot water.
- Use the passive solar energy of your home by opening drapes and blinds during the day. Close them at night to retain heat.
Benefits of Natural Gas
- Take showers instead of baths. Showers use less hot water than baths.
- Wear layers of clothing or insulated clothing indoors.
- Put extra blankets or a down comforter on your bed.
By using the cleanest burning fossil fuel, natural gas heating systems and appliances have the highest total energy efficiency, which is the best value for homeowners.
Natural gas heat is warmer. Air from a natural gas furnace is up to 25 degrees warmer than air from an electric heat pump. Many consumers find that when the temperature drops below 35 degrees, a heat pump is less effective for heating homes at a constant temperature.
Natural gas water heaters are less expensive than electric models to operate, and they heat water up to twice as fast. Homeowners can cut water heating costs by 50 percent by using natural gas.
For additional safety information, please visit the Atlanta Gas Light Company Web site at www.atlantagaslight.com ATTENTION: B-roll available upon request.
The 10-minute VHS tape features a homeowner making the weatherization improvements listed in the release. A script is also available. For a copy of the tape and script, please contact Nick Gold, 404-584-3457.