Prepare Homes Now for Winter, New Jersey Natural Gas Encourages
Although temperatures are still quite mild, New Jersey Natural Gas is urging customers to start getting homes ready for the winter ahead. Properly preparing a residence for cold weather can help save energy, keep heating costs under control “and ensure that you and your family stay safe and warm when temperatures drop,” the utility explains.
NJNG offers a few tips to keep in mind as the season for heating approaches:
• Ensure a home’s heating system is operating at peak performance. “A preseason inspection and routine maintenance performed by a professional heating contractor can help ensure your heating system is operating efficiently and effectively,” NJNG points out. “You can save money and increase your comfort by properly maintaining and upgrading your equipment.”
• Inspect a furnace’s air filter, which should be cleaned or replaced a minimum of every three months, or as needed, to increase efficiency. A dirty or clogged filter will demand more energy and slow down the heating process.
• Seal gaps and weather strip to significantly reduce energy loss. “Air infiltrates in and out of your home from every hole, nook and cranny,” the utility notes. “Warm air leaking out of your home during the winter can waste a lot of energy and dollars.
“Now is also the time to check your carbon monoxide detector. When homes are sealed up against cold weather, there is greater chance of dangerous buildup of CO. Remember to replace your CO detector every five to seven years as per manufacturers’ recommendations.”
• Add insulation to an attic: This is one of the most cost-effective ways to make a home more comfortable. Also, check the insulation in basement walls, floors and crawl spaces to see if it meets the levels recommended by the U.S. Department of Energy.
• Keep the fireplace damper closed when the fireplace is not in use. An open flue allows heat to escape up the chimney.
• Use a programmable thermostat and keep it at a moderate temperature in the winter. As NJNG explains, “A programmable thermostat can automatically change your home’s temperature settings at certain times of day to maximize your home’s comfort and save money. Remember, every 24-hour period the heat is lowered by one degree can save three percent on your heating bill.”
The utility also recommends a comprehensive home energy audit. Customers can hire a NJNG energy auditor, at a cost of $250 or call 877-455-6564 for a list of certified contractors.
For more energy-saving tips from NJNG, visit njng.com and click on “Save Energy & Money.” —J.K.-H.