Heating costs for this winter are expected to increase significantly, with the US Energy Information Administration estimating that those who rely on natural gas for heat will see a 28 percent increase from last year. About half of Multnomah county households use natural gas for heat, so to keep your home at its peak comfort level and get the most from your natural gas appliances, NW Natural has some tips.
Program your thermostat.
Set your thermostat to 65-68 degrees during the day and 58-60 degrees at night during cooler months.
Adjust ceiling fans.
Use ceiling fans to push down hot air in the winter and make cool air feel cooler in the summer.
Use draperies, awnings, blinds or shutters on all windows.
Use of window coverings slows the loss of heat through glass on cloudy days and at night. On sunny days, keep window coverings open.
Keep furnace filters clean.
A dirty filter slows air flow, making the system work harder and wasting energy. For standard furnace filters, change them once a month during the fall and winter season.
Adjust and clean vents.
Make adjustments based on the season and room location. For example, heat rises, so upstairs rooms need less of it. However, even in an average-size house, don’t close more than one or two vents. To extend the life of your furnace, vacuum vents regularly to keep air flowing freely. Restricting airflow can shorten its life.
Limit the use of ventilation fans.
Use kitchen, bath and other fans only as needed, especially in the winter, limiting their use to no more than an hour. Greater use can blow away a houseful of warm air.
Wash dishes and clothes with full loads only.
In the kitchen, scrape food residue off plates instead of using water to rinse them. In the laundry room, wash clothes with cold water.
Close dampers on fireplaces and woodstoves.
When not in use or after a fire is completely out (which could take several hours), make sure to cut off warm air escaping by making sure dampers are closed.
Visit nwnatural.com/ways-to-save/manage-energy-use to find additional ways to manage energy use, including low-cost home improvements and upgrades.