OrderOil (www.orderoil.com), an interactive online resource for comparing home heating oil providers and purchasing oil online, has published a list of energy-saving tips for homeowners at its Web site. Contractors may want to pass on these tips to their residential customers. The list is as follows:

  • Feel for air leaks around windows, doors, and electrical outlets. Repair weatherstripping and caulk leaks. (Don't caulk around storm windows because that can hold in moisture and cause damage to the wood frame).

  • Seal up cracks in the home's foundation.

  • Replace cracked glass.

  • Seal off the attic circulating fan with polyethylene and tape.

  • Make sure there are at least 6 inches of good thermal insulation in the ceiling.

  • Keep kitchen vents closed when not in use.

  • Remove air conditioning window units or cover them well.

  • Use storm windows and doors and make sure they fit tightly. If the home doesn't have storm windows, cover the outside glass with polyethylene sheets.

  • Keep closet doors closed.

  • Dial back a few degrees. Homeowners can save about 3 percent on their heating bill for every degree that they set back their thermostat full time. (Turn it back 10 degrees when going to work and again when going to bed, and they can save about 14 percent on their heating bill.)

  • Install a programmable setback thermostat. This is a low cost solution for reducing energy consumption.

  • Be sure to have an annual heating system tuneup to ensure maximum operating efficiency.

    Publication date: 01/17/2005