More than half of your utility bill is devoted to heating and cooling your home. And with temperatures dropping, homeowners are cranking up their heating systems. Whether you heat with natural gas (the most common method), electricity, or oil you can save money by keeping your equipment maintained and upgraded.  But the Department of Energy says that it takes more than an energy-efficient furnace alone to realize savings. Adding proper insulation, sealing leaks, and adjusting your thermostat can cut your energy use in half. Here’s advice from the agency on how to save energy this winter.

  • Set your programmable thermostat as low as is comfortable and lower the setpoint when you’re sleeping or away from home.
  • Clean or replace the filters on your furnace once a month or as recommended.
  • Clean warm-air registers, baseboard heaters, and radiators; make sure they’re not blocked by furniture, carpeting, or curtains.
  • Eliminate trapped air from hot-water radiators once or twice a season; if you don’t know how to do it, contact a professional.
  • Put heat-resistant radiator reflectors between exterior walls and the radiators.
  • Turn off kitchen, bath, and other exhaust fans within 20 minutes after you finish cooking or bathing. If replacing exhaust fans, consider installing high-efficiency, low-noise models.
  • Keep the draperies and shades on your south-facing windows open during the day to allow sunlight to enter your home and closed at night.

One of the easiest ways to save is to set your thermostat to  68°F when you’re awake and set it lower while you’re away from home or sleeping. By turning your thermostat back 10 to 15 degrees for eight hours, you can save 5 to 15 percent a year on your heating bill, according to the DOE.

Cottam Heating and Air Conditioning is the leading heating and cooling company in City Island, New York City and Westchester.  If you have any questions please give us a call at (718) 885-3328. You can also check us out on Facebook or Twitter


Winter Heating Tips!

Many different things can combine to making heating a home in the winter more costly and problematic than usual. Homeowners need to pay special attention to the heating system and some other parts of the home in order to heat the house efficiently. There are a few tips that will help with home heating in the winter.

Maintain Heating Systems

The single most important tip for home heating is to schedule annual or seasonal maintenance on the heating system. This will help to catch small problems like a loose wire or damaged component before the heater is needed and you discover it is not functioning properly. Maintenance should be performed before each season, fall and winter. Regular maintenance will ensure that the heating system works throughout the winter or summer without any problems.

Programmable Thermostats

There many types of thermostats in use today. A programmable thermostat will keep a home at a comfortable temperature while also saving energy. A programmable thermostat allows a homeowner to define different temperatures for different times of the day. This means that the temperatures can be programmed to drop at night and then rise just before everyone wakes up in the morning.


Even the best heating system is going to have difficulty keeping a house warm if your home is not insulated properly. The insulation in the attic and other areas of a home should be checked before cold weather begins. Moisture, pests and time can all cause insulation to become less effective. Insulation that has started to degrade or sag should be replaced. Effective insulation will make a heating system more efficient and will lower energy bills throughout the year.

Replace Filters

The air filters in the heating system need to be replaced every six months. Dirty air filters can cause several problems. The dirt stops air from moving freely through the system. This can reduce the efficiency of the heater. Air that does not move through the filter will deposit dirt and debris inside of the heating system. In extreme cases, very dirty air filters could actually damage equipment and stop the system from working.

Keep Vents Clear

The vents that allow the heated air to enter a room should be kept clear at all times. The number and placement of vents in a room is carefully planned to provide enough airflow to heat the space. Partially blocking even a single vent will reduce the effectiveness of the heating system. Additionally, items that are blocking a vent could become damaged when exposed to very hot air for months at a time.

Fill Gaps

Drafts in a home mean that there is an opening somewhere leading to the outside. These gaps will cause a heating system to work harder than normal to keep the home warm. Any gaps should be filled as soon as possible. This could mean caulking around a window. It could also mean using a draft stopper along the bottom of doors.

Lower Temperatures Whenever Possible

The thermostat should be lowered whenever possible. This will reduce heating costs and prevent unnecessary wear on the system. Temperatures should be lowered during the day when no one is home. It is also helpful to lower the thermostat at night while everyone is sleeping. The heating system should never be shut off completely even if the family is leaving for a long vacation. Keeping the thermostat at the lowest possible setting will help to stop pipes from freezing and bursting.

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