Did you have trouble keeping your house warm during New Jersey’s arctic winter of 2017-18? If you did, you’re not alone. Many people couldn’t get the temperature of their house as high as the thermostat setting. One common reason can be traced to a heating system’s inefficiency, which occurs as your equipment ages. Efficiency levels can also drop because of a lack of maintenance. This causes you to burn through more oil than normal.
Of course, that’s not the only reason. Many times, the “chilly home syndrome” is largely due to poor insulation levels. In the average home, about one-third of heat loss occurs through the ceilings, which should have a minimum of six inches of quality thermal insulation to keep heat inside the home, where it belongs. With that said, here are some areas you can have inspected to identify insulation issues.
Besides reducing heating costs, a properly insulated foundation will keep below-grade rooms more comfortable and prevent moisture problems, insect infestation, and radon infiltration.
It’s always a good idea to insulate part, if not all, of your basement. A properly insulated basement can save you money on heating and provide dry, comfortable extra living space. For good results, consider installing insulation in the basement ceiling, sealing off any foundation leaks, and insulating rim joists and sill plates. In addition, seal around electrical outlets and any exterior venting to eliminate drafts and cold spots. If you are considering finishing your basement to create extra livable space, be sure to insulate the walls and the floor.
When you’re insulating floors above unheated or uncooled garages, all possible sources of air leakage should be sealed first, This strategy has the added benefit of minimizing the danger of contaminants (from car exhaust, paint, solvents, gardening supplies, etc.) in the garage migrating into the conditioned space.
Loose-fill or batt insulation is typically installed in an attic. Loose-fill insulation is usually less expensive to install than batt insulation, and provides better coverage when installed properly.
If you have an oil furnace, which delivers warm air throughout your home, then you have a duct system. If the ducts in your home are in unheated or non-air conditioned space, you should make sure that they are well sealed and insulated.
Other energy-saving tips
- Homeowners can also use this time to take care of sealing, caulking and weather-stripping gaps around windows, doors and piping so they can be ready to stay comfortable next winter. This will save on air conditioning costs as well.
- As far as improving the energy efficiency of an oilheat system, one of the best things you can do is to schedule an annual heating system tune-up. A well-maintained system can conserve about 5% of heating oil per year and prevent breakdowns during extreme cold.
- A smart thermostat is a great addition for an oil-heated home. A Wi-Fi enabled thermostat allows you to view and change temperature settings, check local weather conditions and more, all from a smartphone, computer or tablet. Some thermostat models even allow you to adjust temperatures to your comfort and over the next few days your thermostat will “remember” the temperatures you like and build a schedule based on your patterns. Now, that’s pretty smart—and it saves you on energy costs throughout the year.
If you would like more advice about making your oilheated home energy efficient, your local oilheat dealer will be glad to offer solutions for cutting your energy bills while increasing your home comfort. Your oilheat company is your energy savings partner!