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Energy Education

Manage Your Home's Energy Use

Heating your home uses more energy than any other system in your home.  Typically, about half of your total utility bill goes for heating.

No matter what kind of heating, ventilation and air conditioning system you have, properly maintaining and upgrading your equipment will help save energy and money.  An energy efficient system alone may not impact your energy bill as much as combining proper equipment maintenance and upgrades with appropriate insulation, weatherization and thermostat settings.

Two major factors impact the cost of heating and cooling your home – thermostat setting and outdoor air temperature.

Set thermostats to 68 degrees F in winter and 78 degrees F in summer.  Each degree you set below or above the suggested settings reduces or increases the cost an additional 3 percent for heating and 4 percent for cooling.  The percentages of change are approximate and are for heating and air conditioning cost only, not total energy bills.

The second major factor is the outside air temperature.  Heat conduction is the exchange of heat between bodies in contact that are at different temperatures.  The warm air inside a home gives up it heat to the outside cold air.  There is a mathematical formula for calculating the rate of heat conduction through a substance.  But for this article, if the inside air temperature of your home is 70 degree F and your insulation level is R-19, the following heat loss per 100 square foot would occur:

Outside air temperature of 50 Degrees F = 105 BTU/hr loss
Outside air temperature of 40 Degrees F = 158 BTU/hr loss
Outside air temperature of 30 Degrees F = 211 BTU/hr loss
Outside air temperature of 20 Degrees F = 263 BTU/hr loss
Outside air temperature of 10 Degrees F = 316 BTU/hr loss
Outside air temperature of 0 Degrees F = 368 BTU/hr loss

You can see if the outside air temperature drops, your furnace needs to run longer to maintain the inside air temperature.

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