Expert offers tips to keep homes more energy efficient

With extreme temperatures on the way, home heating companies are getting calls around the clock.

Experts say there are some things you can do on your own to make sure your home is working more efficiently.

Sometimes people have a tough time with air flow, keeping the entire home warm--especially when it gets downright cold--but experts have a few simple tips to help you out.

Bitterly cold temperatures are in the forecast, and while most of us want to hunker down and just keep warm, service techs at Bartholomew Heating and Cooling in Kalamazoo are working 24/7.

"We're also getting a lot of furnace calls for failing furnaces, furnaces that have been working really hard, pushed to the limit in the last month or so," said owner Brad Bartholomew.

He adds that there are a few things you can take care of on your own, to keep your home feeling comfortable.

For instance, your thermostat:

"If you set back 6 degrees, cut it down to 3 degrees maybe overnight or not at all," he said.

Bartholomew says while turning down the temperature overnight is a great energy saving move, most of the time it's not a good idea when battling extreme temperatures.

Another savings point, your registers:

"Just make sure that these registers are in the full open position, and then that way we're not taxing the system," Bartholomew said.

He says it's also important to pull couches and other furniture or items away from registers, to make sure your system is working at full capacity.

Don't forget about the furnace filters as well.

"When the systems are going to be working at their maximum capacity, we want to make sure that the air filters are as clean as possible," Bartholomew said.

Bartholomew says many homes have high-efficiency filters that you only need to change once per season, but adds that's probably not the case this winter, because furnaces are working even harder, and will get plugged up much sooner.

In addition, when it gets this cold, you'll want to turn down humidifiers.

Bartholomew says if you don't, you could get water on your windows.