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Put a freeze on your wallet.

If you’re like most people, you’re looking for every possible way to cut back on expenses. One of the greatest expenses incurred during the winter months comes from heating your home. Certainly, reducing your winter heating costs is a top priority, especially in today’s tight economy.

Residents of colder climates are especially hit hard, sometimes paying upwards of $300 a month in heating costs for a two story home. Even though residents in typically warmer environments don’t pay anywhere near as much for heat as their northern neighbors, they, too are interested in reducing winter heating costs.

Following are seven tips for reducing your winter heating costs from Clay Phillips, president of Charlotte, NC, heating and air conditioning firm, Ross & Witmer:

1. Reduce the amount of air leakage in your home.  Air leaks cause your heater to run more, since heat is constantly escaping. It’s like your mother used to say, “Don’t heat the outdoors.”  Many air leaks and drafts are easy to find because they are easy to feel — like those around windows and doors. But holes hidden in attics, basements, and crawlspaces are usually bigger problems. Sealing these leaks with caulk, spray foam, or weather stripping will have a great impact on improving your comfort and reducing utility bills.

2. Increase the amount of insulation in your crawlspace and attic.  The minimum insulation requirement for an attic in North Carolina is R-30.  But it’s just that: a minimum.  Did you know the recommended insulation level is R-49 for the Charlotte area?  Consult with Ross & Witmer to increase the amount of insulation in your home.  We offer spray foam, cellulose, and rigid foam board solutions.

3. Have your ducts sealed.  In the Charlotte area, we have measured an average of 18-25% duct leakage.  That’s 18-25% of your heating and cooling bills going to waste.  The result is higher utility bills and difficulty keeping the house comfortable, no matter how the thermostat is set.

4. Close doors and windows, even when going out for just a minute. In the time it takes you to run to the mail box or pull the garbage cans in from the curb, you can let out a tremendous amount of heat and let in blasts of icy air that cause your heater to work overtime. It may not seem like a big deal, but these little blasts of cold air make your costs go up.

5. Lower your thermostat setting when you’re not home. The U.S. Department of Energy reports that homeowners could save as much as 10 percent a year on heating costs by setting the temperature back 10 or 15 degrees when away (Note: Be careful not to set the temperature too low, though, lest your pipes freeze and/or burst.)

6. Keep your heating and cooling equipment maintained. Numerous studies have shown that routine maintenance will reduce your heating and cooling costs by an average of 10%.  In addition, you can expect the equipment to last longer.  Ross & Witmer provides an array of Service Agreements.  Consult with us to find out which one is right for you.

7. Ask Ross & Witmer for suggestions on reducing your winter heating costs. Every home is different; some heating systems are older, others are newer. Ross & Witmer can tell you specific solutions that will work best for reducing your winter heating costs.