• DTE Energy offers tips for managing winter heating costs

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    With the heating season now upon us, DTE Energy has a number of tips and programs to help customers save energy and money this winter.

    Here are some simple steps that can pay big dividends as temperatures start to plummet:

    Dial down . . .

    • The best way to manage your energy costs is by using energy wisely.   For every degree you lower your thermostat below 72 degrees, you can save about 3 percent on your heating bill.  One way to accomplish this is with a programmable thermostat, which can automatically lower the temperature when you’re away from the house, and automatically increase it before you get home.
    • Homes with proper humidity levels will provide greater comfort at lower temperatures. When humidity is kept at a proper level – about 35 percent at 70 degrees – windows will not sweat and the air won’t feel dry. Replace the humidifier pad or clean it of calcium deposits for best results.

    Fine tune your furnace . . .

    • Schedule a heating system check-up.  A qualified heating contractor will make sure your heating system operates efficiently and delivers the maximum energy savings. Check the DTE Energy web site for a list of participating HVAC Tune-up contractors.
    • Clean or replace your furnace’s air filters monthly during the winter season. Dirty filters block the warm airflow in the home, which causes the furnace to work harder and less economically.
    • Clean and vacuum ducts, vents and heat registers. Check heat registers to ensure that drapes or furniture do not block airflow.
    • Check the chimney for obstructions. Make sure your chimney is not blocked by debris such as bird nests, leaves, loose mortar or dirt.

    Add insulation . . .

    • Install attic and basement insulation to keep out drafts and make your home more energy efficient and warm. Adding blown cellulose on top of rolled fiberglass insulation will increase the insulation value of your attic.
    • Insulate all heating ducts located in attics and unheated crawlspaces, and make sure there are no leaks in your ductwork.  In the basement, insulate the band joists, where your home’s frame meets the foundation.
    • Place an insulation blanket around your hot water heater if it’s more than 10 years old.  Electric water heaters should be placed on an insulated surface, such as foam. Adjust water heater temperature to the warm setting (about 120 degrees).

    Keep the cold air out. . .

    • Seal windows and doors with caulk and weather stripping to block unwanted drafts. If caulk cracks and peels away, it allows your home’s heat to escape.
    • Install a fireplace door to prevent cold air from entering your home.  Be sure to close the damper unless a fire is burning.  Keeping the damper open is like having a window wide open during the winter.  However, if you have a gas fireplace, the flue should be partially open to allow fumes from the pilot light to escape.
    • Use kitchen, bath and other ventilating fans wisely.  In just one hour, these fans can pull out a houseful of warm air.  Turn fans off as soon as they have done their job.
    • Minimize the number of times that doors to the outside are opened and closed. Every time an outside door opens, warm air rushes out and cold air moves in.

    Let the sun shine in. . .

    • Open curtains on south-facing windows during the day to allow sunlight to naturally heat your home.  Be sure to close the curtains at night to reduce the chill you may feel from cold windows.
    • Take advantage of DTE Energy programs.  Enroll in BudgetWise Billing and spread your heating payments equally over the entire year. For more information about BudgetWise Billing, visit www.dteenergy.com/bwb.

    For more information about managing winter heating costs, visit www.dteenergy.com/winter.

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