Photograph of  our oil fired heating boiler with Mikes CD book on how to save heating costs How to Set Home Energy Savings Priorities

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Heating cost reduction priorities: here we explain the basic priorities of steps to take in reducing building heating or cooling costs. The sequence of energy-saving and money-saving steps outlined just below will be appropriate for most buildings.

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How to Set Overall Priorities of Building Improvements in Insulation, Storm Windows, Heating Systems, when Saving on Heating Costs

Readers should also see ENERGY SAVINGS MAXIMIZE RETURNS ON and see the collection of energy saving articles at ENERGY SAVINGS in buildings

Readers may also want to place this idea of tuning up your heating system to save heating cost in the larger energy savings context

  1. Stop drafts and air leaks in the building first: find and fix leaky windows, doors. The leaks in an older home may be small, individually, but added up they are often equal to leaving a window or door wide open. There is not much benefit in adding insulation to a building if a window or door is being left open. Or the equivalent in leaks. Stop drafts first. See ENERGY SAVINGS RETROFIT LEAK SEALING GUIDE. Also see AIR BYPASS LEAKS and see HEAT LOSS INDICATORS. For older buildings where you have already added insulation but heating bills are still too high, see ENERGY SAVINGS RETROFIT CASE STUDY.
  2. Insulate attics - the general movement of warm air and heat in a building is "up" and "out" as warm air rises through a home. If a building is not insulated or not well insulated, the attic floor is the place to start with improving building heat retention. Be sure to also review our notes on proper attic ventilation so that you don't also create a moisture problem. See INSULATION INSPECTION & IMPROVEMENT and see ENERGY SAVINGS RETROFIT OPTIONS.
  3. Add storm windows: if your building's windows are old, leaky, un insulated, adding storm windows can have a faster payback than removing and replacing the entire window unit with a modern insulated glass unit.
  4. Insulate walls - the second direction of heat loss, once we've fixed drafts and insulated an attic, are the building walls. See INSULATION INSPECTION & IMPROVEMENT. Be sure to check basements and crawl spaces for drafts at the top of the foundation walls.
  5. Insulate crawl spaces? Contemporary building scientists prefer to close off crawl space venting and convert these areas to conditioned space. See CRAWL SPACE VENTING & Dryout Proceduresand also HEAT LOSS: How to Calculate Heat Loss in a Building
  6. Tune up the heating & cooling system performance - heating system economies as a portion of overall building heating cost probably falls in between attics and walls and for sure is before insulating a basement wall except for stopping rim joist drafts.
  7. Use Alternative & Renewable Energy Sources - reduce the cost of heating and cooling the building interior. See
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