Top 10 Ways to Save Money On Your Heating Costs This Winter
We are all looking for ways to save money, especially during the holidays. Here are 10 sure fire ways to help you save money on your energy costs during the winter. Most are DIY, but some may require further assistance. When you need help with your heating/cooling, plumbing and electrical needs, call the name you can trust. Three trades, one team- remember, It’s Gotta be Godby!
1. Window Treatments
Those window treatments are for more than just looking pretty, they are very useful! During the day, leave south facing window treatments open. This will allow for the sun to come in and maximize your solar gain. Once it gets dark, close the treatments to help hold the heat in.
2. Update Your Thermostat
We can’t say it enough- a programmable thermostat will save you money! You can program your thermostat to a cooler temperature if you are not home or sleeping. Within the 60° to 70° zone one degree matters- each degree you lower your thermostat can save about 3% on your yearly energy bill. Consider wearing a sweater or an extra layer when you are home and save money throughout the winter season.
Those kitchen and bathroom fans are good at their jobs. They help pull out smells and humidity, but they are also pulling out your heat. Only run the fans when you really need them and make sure to shut them off when you don’t.
4. Those Darn Drafts!
Did you know that 7-10 % of your heat loss occurs around windows and doors? Have you even thought about the heat loss around your chimney, pipes and other lines that are coming into your house? Feel around for leaks and cool spots.
- Doors- Can you see light coming through on any side of your door? If you can see light, the air can certainly pass through. Make sure that your weather stripping is not cracked or worn. If it is, replace it. Make a draft snake by filling a sock or tights with rice and put it in front of the door threshold to keep the heat where it belongs. Make sure to lock your doors. This will give you a tighter seal.
- Windows- Replace any cracked caulk or weather stripping. Use those window treatments to your advantage, as we explained earlier. Lock windows to ensure a tighter seal.
- Chimney- Fireplaces can be a great source of heat, but they can also allows your heat and your money to head right up the chimney. Over time your flue can lose shape and warp causing air to escape even when it is closed. You can use a chimney balloon to help seal off the chimney. And don’t worry if your forget about it being there and light a fire. Once the temperature in your flue reaches 180°F, the chimney balloon will burst and shrink up and get out of the way.
- Pipes/Cables/Outlets- The places where pipes and cables enter and leave your home need to be caulked or foam insulated. The same goes for your electrical outlets. If you feel a cool breeze coming through the outlet or the cover feels cold, chances are you have air leaking through. You can remove the outlet cover and caulk any holes or use a foam gasket which is especially made for this usage.
Your registers need to be able to do their job. They need a clear path to let air flow freely. Move furniture, rugs or whatever is blocking your registers and feel the difference a clear register can make. Also, make sure that the air is not just being blown behind your curtains or drapes.
6. Space Heaters
As long as you use them safely, a space heater can be a game changer. If your family usually gathers in a certain region of the house, use one there. Turn the thermostat down for your house and heat the small gathering area with a space heater. Once you plan on dispersing, turn up the thermostat.
Check the insulation in the areas of your house that are easy to access. An insulated home uses up to 50% les energy than a home that isn’t insulated. Check to see if there are areas where the insulation has been disturbed, moving, crushed or missing. Make sure to reinsulate these areas. An attic access door is another place to check. Attached insulation on the attic side of the access and make sure the access is sealed tightly, keeping the non-conditioned air out of your home.
Check those easy to access areas in your home that has ductwork. Examine the ductwork to see if there are any areas where the ductwork has pulled apart at seams and corners. You can lose 20-30% of the air that is moving through your HVAC system due to leaks or holes. Use metal tape or mastic sealant to fix these holes, connections or seals.
Adding a humidifier to your HVAC system increases the moisture in your home. Dry air not only causes cracked lips and flaky skin, but it also makes the air feel colder. Humidity in the air allows your indoor air to retain heat longer. Humidity in the air can make 68°F feel more like 75°F. Another added benefit is that it will decrease your chances of getting a winter cold and sinus infections because dry air makes your mucus membranes more vulnerable.
You knew it was coming, but it is true! Taking care of your HVAC system will save you money. Check your filter regularly and replace it or clean it when needed. A clogged filter causes your system to work harder and be less efficient. Make sure that your HVAC system is tuned-up and ready before the winter season begins. All of this goes under the preventive maintenance category. It is no fun to have your furnace fail on you just when you need it, so take care of it and stay warm throughout the cold season.