Even though winter energy price projections have come down, consumers already facing a tough economic climate are likely to be paying more to heat their homes this winter than they spent a year or two ago, according to the Alliance to Save Energy. High home heating costs make energy efficiency as timely as ever, says the Alliance, which also highlights new federal income tax credits for homeowners who make energy efficiency home improvements in 2009.
"The average U.S. household will spend $2300 on home energy this year - 7% more than last year and 12% more than in 2006 - with winter heating bills taking a large 'bite' out of household budgets going into next year," noted Alliance president Kateri Callahan. "At a time of financial stress and strain for many, simple yet effective energy-saving steps are the way to go - not only to save money, but also to make homes more comfortable and help protect the environment.
Callahan said that new federal income tax credits for energy efficiency home upgrades made in 2009 can partially offset the up-front cost of new equipment such as highly efficient furnaces and heat pumps.
The Alliance suggests that consumers should properly maintain their HVAC system. "Just as a tune-up for your car can improve your gas mileage, a yearly tune-up of your heating and cooling system can improve efficiency and comfort," it said. "Consider a semi-annual or yearly professional "tune-up" of the system to ensure it is working efficiently."
The Alliance also suggests that consumers install Energy Star qualified heating and cooling equipment. "If you have to replace your HVAC equipment, consider a unit that has earned the Energy Star," it said. "Installed correctly, these high-efficiency units can save up to 20% on heating and cooling costs. Certain highly efficient models qualify for a federal income tax credit in 2009."
to Daily News