Energy Communications Council

Press Releases

Back to Press Releases

For more information contact:
Kevin Rooney
[email protected]

15 Critical Tips for Winter Energy Conservation and Budgeting

Washington, D.C., September 21, 2010 Oilheat consumers can save on winter heating costs by tuning up their heating oil systems now, as well as taking other simple steps to conserve energy, and by enrolling in a budget payment plan with automatic delivery from their heating oil supplier.

Today’s oil furnaces are highly efficient, but an annual tune-up keeps existing equipment functioning at top performance, according to the heating oil industry’s Energy Communications Council (ECC).

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, properly maintained boilers and furnaces can operate at higher temperatures while burning less fuel and reduce heating bills by up to 10 percent. Homeowners can more than recover the expense of a system tune-up over the course of a typical winter, making it a good return on investment.

“Tuning up their heating system before the winter arrives is a great way for consumers to lower their heating costs, conserve energy, and help the environment,” ECC spokesman Kevin Rooney said.

Wrapping pipes with insulation to prevent both heat loss and freezing, eliminating gaps around windows and doors, and upgrading heating oil systems and thermostats that are more than 20 years old are also among the practical steps that home and business owners can take to save energy and lower their bills.

In addition to the ease of automatic delivery based on degree-day usage, consumers should also consider the financial benefits of a budget payment plan for their energy purchases that can spread out fuel oil costs at the same monthly level throughout the year.

“Many oilheat consumers across the country use budget billing because they like the convenience and certainty of having one heating expense figure to plug into their monthly home or business budget,” Rooney said.

• Get a heating system tune-up — it’ll ensure you get the maximum performance out of every drop of heating oil burned.
• Open shades and drapes when the sun is out to let it help warm your home. Close them when the sun goes down.
• Turn back the thermostat at night or when you are away from home; for every degree you lower your thermostat for 8 hours or more each day, you’ll save 2 percent on your heating bill.
• Insulate pipes to guard against heat loss and prevent them from freezing.
• Stop drafts by eliminating any gaps between your door and the threshold on the floor. Use a bottom seal that can be attached to the bottom of the door – it should brush up against the floor to seal up the threshold.
• Caulk or re-caulk exterior spaces between the windows and walls of your home.
• Close your kitchen vent, fireplace damper and closet doors when not in use.
• If you have central air conditioning, close your air vents and returns to prevent heat loss.
• Remove air conditioning window units, or cover them to keep cold air outside.
• Keep radiators and registers free of furniture or other obstructions for top efficiency.

• Consider replacing heating systems that are more than 20 years old because modern versions can cut costs by 15 to 25 percent.
• Talk to your heating fuel supplier about installing a set-back thermostat, which pays for itself through lower energy costs in about a year.
• Make sure you have good insulation on exterior walls, ceilings with cold spaces above, and floors with cold spaces below.
• Install and close storm windows. Consider new glass designed to decrease radiant heat loss without lowering visibility.
• Contact your heating local heating oil dealer for information about a service agreement.

For more information regarding practical energy saving tips, contact your local heating oil dealer, your state or regional heating oil association, or visit and

The ECC is comprised of the New England Fuel Institute, the Delaware Valley Fuel Dealers’ Association, the Empire State Petroleum Association, the Fuel Merchants Association of New Jersey, the Massachusetts Oilheat Council, Oil Heat Comfort of Long Island, the New York Oil Heating Association, Inc., and the Vermont Fuel Dealers Association, and is funded in part by NORA.

National Oilheat Research Alliance ECC is funded in part through the National Oilheat Research Alliance.