Winter is right around the corner, and that means residents will soon be opening the dreaded heating bill.

Winter is right around the corner, and that means residents will soon be opening the dreaded heating bill.
Despite decreases in a gallon of gasoline, the projected cost of natural gas and home heating oil will continue to stay high. And any disturbance in the volatile energy market could send prices skyrocketing.
With the help of Bob Case, owner and operator of A-1 Complete air conditioning and heating service of Blue Springs and various Web sites, The Examiner has compiled ways to save on home energy costs this winter.

10 Lower water heater temperature. Many water heaters are automatically set at 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Lowering the temperature to between 120 and 125 degrees will reduce the amount of fuel needed to heat the water.

9 Insulate those pipes. Wrapping insulation blankets around hot water pipes leading into the boiler can result in up to 10 percent savings on energy bills, according to an article on the Web site

8 Ceiling fans. Turn on ceiling fans a slow rotating speed to circulate warm air back down, since warm air rises.

7 Caulking. Residents can caulk around windows to seal cold air from seeping into the house. Case said the bottom of doors are usually suspects in seeping air into the house. Simply install a door sweep.

6 A programmable thermostat. This allows you to program the home’s temperature for certain times of the day. For example, some like it cooler at night and heat up right before you get up.

5 Attic insulation. This is “worth its weight in gold” as far as energy savings, Case said. He has more than 30 inches of insulation in his attic and has noticed a dramatic change in his heating bill. A homeowner doesn’t need to hire a professional to put installation in the attic. The cellulose-made installation, made from recycled newspapers treated with a fire retardent, is blown into the attic. The material is better than the rolled up pink material because it seals and insulates better.

4 Keep doors shut. This one seems obvious, but ignored by homeowners. Some people leave the garage door open, a bigger mistake than leaving the front door open. “It makes the garage cold and the cold transfers to through the floors and up in through the house,” Case said.

3 Checking the furnace. If your furnace is old, as in it has a standing pilot, get it checked out and properly cleaned each year, Case said. Newer furnaces are nearly maintenance-free.

2 Replace furnace unit. On Wednesday, Case was in Independence replacing a 31-year-old furnace. The efficiency rate had to around 50 percent, meaning for every $100 worth of gas purchased the unit will generate $50 worth of heat, Case said. It’s wasted money. Replacing the unit with at least an 80 percent efficiency rate will save money, he said.

1 Changing the filter. Residents should change the filter on the furnace at least each month rather than every three months, Case said. Thicker filters get dirtier quicker. “When you get a little bit of dirt on them, they slow down the air flow to the furnace that causes your electric bill to be higher,” Case said.