October 8, 2008

Fall’s Here – Time to Button-Up With Energy-Saving Tips From NSTAR

The chill in the air means heating systems will soon be called back into service. To help customers prepare for the coming heating season, NSTAR has advice for keeping homes warm and energy efficient.

Have heating systems inspected and cleaned - A properly cleaned and adjusted heating system will run more efficiently and save money. Old, inefficient systems should be replaced. NSTAR customers can save between $100 and $1,000 on a new gas, oil or propane system by taking advantage of available rebates. Home heating protection plans are also available for NSTAR Gas customers.

Switch to programmable thermostats - Programmable thermostats automatically adjust the temperature by using settings that residents can control. Recommended settings are 68 degrees when the home is occupied and lower overnight or when everyone is gone for the day. Every degree a thermostat is lowered during an eight hour period can save up to three percent on heating bills. NSTAR offers a $25 rebate on qualifying thermostat models.

Repair air leaks - A silent waster of heating dollars, air leaks come in all shapes and sizes. Inspect foundations and sills for cracks and holes. Most can be easily sealed with calking available at local home improvements stores.

Consider adding insulation - Increasing a home's insulation is one of the most cost-effective ways to make the most of energy dollars. Investing in proper levels of insulation can reduce a home's heating and cooling needs by up to 10 percent. Zero-interest financing is currently available for qualifying installations.

Repair or replace windows - Inefficient windows can account for up to 25 percent of a home's heating bill. Simple steps to make windows more energy efficient include repairing damaged glazing, adding weather-stripping and installing insulating window shades. Old, inefficient windows should be replaced with Energy Star-labeled windows with high-performance glass. Rebates and zero-interest financing are available.

Remember the simple things - Some steps that every resident can do on their own to save energy during the heating season include: keep radiators or heating vents dust-free and don't block them with furniture or draperies; keep shades and curtains open during the day on the south side of the home to take advantage of solar heating, but close them at night to retain the heat; place a sheet of aluminum foil between the radiator and the wall to reflect heat back into the room.

NSTAR is the largest Massachusetts-based, investor-owned electric and gas utility. The company transmits and delivers electricity and natural gas to 1.4 million customers in Eastern and Central Massachusetts, including more than one million electric customers in 81 communities and 300,000 gas customers in 51 communities. For more information, visit www.nstar.com.