Best Heating

With the HVAC Technician Certification program, you’ll learn how to install, operate, maintain, troubleshoot, repair, replace, and service heating, ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC) equipment. The HVAC Technician Certification Program (HTCP) helps professionals save occupants’ energy and money by ensuring their comfort, health, and safetly. The Heating Professional Certification covers heating systems for buildings with up to four residential units.

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Here are some tips for holding down your winter heating bills.

First, insulate the attic and turn down the thermostat during the day. There’s always Dad’s advice: “Wear a sweater.”

Thomas Fuchs Ann Carrns Home heating bills are expected to be significantly higher this winter , but there’s still time to take steps to make your living space more energy-efficient and hold down costs.

spurt of inflation is being driven, in part, by spikes in the cost of natural gas, heating oil, propane and electricity, which may be unwelcome news to consumers who have become accustomed to lower fuel prices in recent years.

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According to the federal Energy Information Administration, nearly half of American households heat primarily with natural gas, and they will spend on average 29 percent more on heat this winter. Heating oil and propane users will face double-digit increases, while electricity prices are expected to rise 6 percent, on average. Those costs could vary if the temperatures are much higher or lower than expected.

Whatever type of fuel, now is the time to make your home more comfortable and save on heating costs.

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“It’s not too late,” said Doug Anderson, project manager for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program, which researches and promotes cost-effective ways to make homes more energy efficient. “Get on it right away.” Start with your attic. Heat rises, so your house tends to lose warmth at the top. Just as wearing a hat in winter keeps you warm, repairing or adding insulation in your attic will help keep your house cozy, said Richard Trethewey, a heating and plumbing contractor and a regular on the home renovation show “This Old House.” “Look at the ‘hat’ of your building,” he said. “Insulate at the top.” You can get a good idea of where insulation is needed with a simple visual inspection, he said. Reposition any insulation that has shifted. Pay attention to any gaps around pipes and ducts. You can also get relatively inexpensive thermal camera attachments for your cellphone, which can help pinpoint areas where heat is leaking, Mr. Trethewey said.

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You can add insulation yourself, if you have a truck to haul it home and don’t mind getting dirty and itchy. Rigid-foam insulation, for instance, can be cut and wedged between joists the horizontal beams at the base of your attic to supplement insulation that’s already there. There’s even a tax credit of up to $500 available for the material used, according to Energy Star.

But most homeowners decide to hire a professional to do the job. “It becomes gnarly for people,” Mr. Trethewey said.

To get a full picture of your home’s heating profile, you can schedule a residential energy assessment, also called an energy audit. Some gaps may be obvious, such as light between an exterior door and its frame. That can be dealt with by applying weatherstripping to keep out drafts.

“When you feel a breeze near a window, you know there’s a problem,” said Nancy Kaplan, director of work force development at the Building Performance Institute, which sets standards for upgrading homes and certifies the technicians who do the work.

However, some leaks are less visible, and many homeowners lack the tools or skills to find them, said Larry Zarker, the institute’s executive director. One common part of a detailed energy audit is to temporarily install a blower at a door to depressurize your house. Using a thermal camera, this will reveal areas that should be sealed or insulated by drawing air into the house through any gaps.

Some utilities will cover the cost of a home energy audit, according to Ms. Kaplan, depending on your location and the size of your home.

Weatherization programs are offered by the Energy Department to low-income households to help pay for recommended upgrades, such as insulation or more efficient heating systems.

If you want to start saving energy now, contact your local utility or your states’ weatherization program. They may be able to help you lower your monthly bills. Automatically turn off lights when leaving home or turning down heat when not at home. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you could save up to ten percent on energy costs each year simply by turning down your thermostat seven to ten degrees during the daytime.

Even though working from home may be less expensive than commuting to an office job, there might still be ways for you to save some cash.

For advice on what smart thermostat to use, see ratings on Wirecutter, The New York Times’s product-rating affiliate.

Both traditional programmable thermostat models and newer, web-connected ones were ranked by Consumer Reports.

If low-income families cannot pay their heating costs, then they might be eligible for assistance from the government. Check with your state agency , or contact the federal Low Income Energy Assistance Program Here are some questions and answers about home heating:

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