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December 2, 2010 / robertstockham

Save while heating this winter…

If you are buying a new heating system, consider a high-efficiency electric air source or ground source heat pump. The energy efficiency is rated according to a federal standard called the Heating Seasonal Performance Factor, or HSPF. Heat pumps with an HSPF of 10 are al-most three times more efficient than the most efficient gas furnaces. In January 2006, the new minimum efficiency for air source heat pumps rose to 7.7 HSPF, while efficiency levels for furnaces and boilers have not increased since 1992.

Ground source heat pumps, or GeoEx-change units, use the Earth as a heat source in the winter and as a heat sink in the summer. Ground source heat pumps are rated in terms of Coefficient of Performance (COP) for the winter. The higher the COP, the higher the efficiency. Where gas furnaces have COP values in the 0.78 to 0.94 range, ground source heat pumps have COP values in the 3.0 to 5.0 range.

In the heating season, water vapors from bathing and cooking are beneficial because they help humidify the home. So, use kitchen and bath exhaust fans sparingly in the winter to keep as much heat as possible inside your house.

Locate the heating thermostat on an inside wall away from windows and doors. Cold drafts will cause the thermostat to keep the system running even when the rest of the house is warm enough.

Set the heating thermostat as low as comfort permits. For instance, each degree above 68 F can add 3 percent to the amount of energy needed for heating. If you have a heat pump, make sure that the thermostat is designed to operate the heat pump efficiently when raising the temperature after it has been lowered.

When entertaining a large group of people during the heating season, lower the thermostat a degree or two before the guests arrive. Otherwise, since people generate heat, the space may become wastefully overheated.

Lubricate pump and blower bearings regularly in accordance with manufacturers’ recommendations to limit the amount of energy lost to friction and to extend equipment life as well.

Close heating vents and radiator valves in unused rooms. Make sure that drapes, plants, or furniture do not block registers for supply or return air.

For more information on heating, check out the following Web



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