Appliances in basement

Winter is soon upon us and the furnace will begin its work to keep your home warm and cozy. Don’t, however, spend more on energy than you must. By taking a few simple steps, you can save money on your monthly bill.

Your furnace gets a good work out over the winter months, so a pre-winter tune-up is important. Montana-Dakota Utilities urges homeowners to have their heating equipment inspected. A clean and well-maintained furnace can keep you and your family safe. Plus, it can save you money on your monthly utility bill by making sure your furnace is running at maximum efficiency. Contact a licensed heating profession to check your furnace to ensure it’s running at maximum efficiency.

Throughout the winter months, check the furnace filter frequently and replace or clean it as needed. It’s also important to make sure your furnace exhaust vent is clear of snow and ice.

Here are some other winter energy-saving tips:

• One of the easiest things you can do is make sure your home is well insulated. Homeowners can save up to 20 percent of heating and cooling costs by air-sealing their homes and adding insulation in attics, floors over crawl spaces and accessible basement rim joists.

  • Install a programmable thermostat. This can be an effective way to control heating costs, allowing the thermostat to be set for a cooler temperature while you are away from home and at night while you are sleeping.
  • A humidifier can help control heating costs because the moist air will feel warmer, allowing the thermostat to be set at a lower temperature.
  • Adjust register openings in the home. Remember that heat rises, so registers should be partially closed upstairs.
  • Use draperies, blinds, curtains or shutters on all windows to slow the loss of heat through the glass. Keep window coverings open on sunny days to let in the sun’s warmth.
  • Rearrange the furniture, placing it next to inside walls and away from windows. Avoid blocking registers with furniture, draperies or carpet.
  • Use kitchen, bath and other ventilating fans sparingly. In just one hour, these fans can exhaust a houseful of warm air.
  • Purchase inexpensive, pre-cut insulation gaskets and seal out cold air entering the home through electrical switches and outlet plates.
  • Closets and cabinets on outside walls can leak a great deal of cold air, so make sure the doors fit snugly and keep them closed tightly.

For more information on energy saving tips:

Montana-Dakota Utilities, a division of MDU Resources Group, is headquartered in Bismarck, North Dakota, and serves 143,000 electric customers and 272,000 natural gas customers in 262 communities in North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana and Wyoming.

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