DETROIT – As temperatures fall, the price of energy bills can climb. While Michigan winters are harsh, the impact on your wallet doesn’t have to be.
DTE Energy has some tips for how to save energy and keep you comfortable all winter long:
• Install a programmable thermostat and set it at 68 degrees or lower – the recommended setting for winter. A programmable thermostat can save about $180 every year in energy costs through proper use.
• Seal air leaks, then insulate. Air can leak out of your house around windows, doors, skylights and other openings. If you add up all of the hidden air leaks in your home, they can equal a hole the size of an open window. Homeowners can save about 10 percent of their total energy bills by sealing air leaks first – with caulk, weather-stripping or spray foam – and then adding insulation where needed.
• Check your filter every month, especially during heavy-use winter months. At a minimum, change the filter every three months. Clean filters prevent dust and dirt from building up in the system. If a filter is dirty, it slows down the air flow and makes the system work harder to keep you warm. This results in wasted energy and can lead to expensive maintenance and early system failure.
• Seal and insulate ducts. Ducts move air to-and-from a forced air furnace or heat pump and are often big energy wasters. Sealing and insulating ducts can improve the efficiency of your heating and cooling system by as much as 20 percent — and sometimes much more. Start by sealing leaks using mastic sealant or metal (foil) tape and insulating all the ducts that you can access, such as those in the attic, crawlspace, basement, or garage. Never use “duct tape,” as it is not long-lasting.
• Turn off electronic devices when not in use. Home electronics account for up to 15 percent of household electricity use.
• Look for ENERGY STAR® certified light bulbs, they use about 70-90 percent less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs. They also last at least 15 times longer and save about $80 in electricity costs over their lifetime.
For more tips on how to save energy, visit dteenergy.com/winter.