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How much you pay for heating depends largely on your climate, with the warmest climates requiring only occasional heating and the coldest requiring heating the majority of the year. According to the Department of Energy, the average annual heating expense for US households in 2010 will be $873. If you find that you’re on track to pay more than this amount, it could be due to your climate, but it could also be due to your home’s poor energy efficiency. Below, we list some tips for lowering your annual heating bill by improving your home’s energy efficiency.

1. Evaluate Your Central Heating

If you have central heating, it’s important to ensure that your furnace receives regular maintenance; otherwise, it could suffer incidental damage that inhibits its ability to heat your home, causing you to crank up your thermostat and use more electricity. One of the most common problems with improperly maintained furnaces is a leakage where the furnace connects to its flu. A licensed HVAC technician can repair this leakage within a few hours, if not sooner.

2. Evaluate Your Ductwork

As central heating systems age, their ductwork can experience subtle leaks that have a major impact on the level of heat a home receives. One of the biggest reasons for increased heating costs for US homes, leaky ductwork lets warm air escape into areas where it isn’t needed, such as wall and ceiling spaces, decreasing the amount of warmth received by living spaces. Correcting leaky ductwork is a simple fix that can have a major impact on your heating bill.

3. Evaluate Your Doors and Windows

If your house has doors and windows that predate the green movement, chances are that their energy efficiency rating is low. Upgrading your windows and doors can have a noticeable effect on your heating bill, and it can also improve the market value of your home.

4. Evaluate Your Home’s Building Envelope

A house’s building envelope is the insulation that resides in the space between its interior and exterior walls. The ideal envelope for your home depends largely on climate, but upgrading your old envelope with newer technology can noticeably impact your heating bills, causing your heating equipment to work more efficiently by preserving the temperatures it produces.

5. Evaluate Your Boiler’s Conversion Ratio

If you have boiler that predates the green movement, its electricity to heat conversion ration probably hovers at around 65 percent, a far cry form the efficient boilers of today whose conversion ratios 90 percent. Most boilers have a long lifespan. But if your boiler is past its prime, replacing it with a more efficient boiler can you save significant money over the course of the new boiler’s lifespan.

6. Dress Warmer and Use Less Heat

This suggestion might sound unpalatable to modern living, but it actually works. Instead of wearing a T-shirt and house pants, try wearing blue jeans and a soft sweater over your T-shirt. Once you adjust your thermostat to accommodate your new attire, the savings begin.