Energy-efficient heating keeps cost-conscious homeowners cozy

(NewsUSA) - With many Americans watching their budgets, heating homes has become an unwanted, though necessary, expense.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, many American homes will experience higher heating costs this winter due to increased fuel prices. Thankfully, simple behavior changes and energy-efficient appliances can help homeowners cut their heating bills and still enjoy the same level of comfort.

"Energy-efficient heating means that you use less energy to heat the same space," said Phil Weeks, chief operating officer of Rinnai America Corporation, a company that manufactures gas heating appliances. "This saved energy translates into reduced utility costs for homeowners."

Some energy-efficient heating devices can heat a home while still conserving energy.

Another efficient heating option is to forego a traditional furnace in favor of a direct vent wall furnace. These ductless units are capable of comfortably heating whole homes or specific zones, depending on the need, and save energy by constantly adjusting heat output and blower speed to meet current demand.

Of course, homeowners can take steps to help their current heating units operate on less energy. Consider the following efforts:

* Seal and weather strip doors and windows to prevent heat from escaping the home.

* Reverse the direction of ceiling fans (so they turn clockwise) to push warm air down from the ceiling.

* Minimize the use of bathroom and kitchen hood fans as they can quickly remove heat from the air.