When summer comes to a close and fall brings with it lower temperatures, homeowners start thinking about heaters which are often dormant during the warmer months. But before you turn up the thermostat, however, take a look at ways to preserve energy in your home and reduce your energy costs.
Check out our winter energy saving tips below to make sure you are getting the most out of your heater.
Conduct an energy audit
An energy audit can help you gain a better understanding of your home’s energy use. It will help you determine problem areas and how to best fix them. It can also help you determine just how much you should use your heater. An energy audit is the first thing you should do if you are looking for ways to save on heating costs.
Cover any openings
After you’ve conducted an energy audit, you’ll want to check for any air leaks [http://energy.gov/energysaver/detecting-air-leaks] around your home. These leaks can be found around utility holes for pipes, unfinished spaces around doors and closets, and gaps in ceilings.
Here’s a list of common areas you’ll want to inspect for cracks and gaps:
- Electrical outlets
- Door and window frames
- Weather stripping around doors
- Attic hatches
- Vents and fans
Less obvious leaks can also lead to higher utility bills. To find sometimes hidden leaks, inspect areas where two different building materials meet. These can include exterior corners and areas where your home’s foundation meets its walls. Once these leaks are found, apply caulk to seal them off.
Turn down the thermostat
When you’re spending time at home, set your thermostat to the lowest comfortable temperature possible; the lower the degree, the less energy you’ll use. When you’re not at home, turn your thermostat down even more. According to the Energy Department, turning it back 10° to 15° for 8 hours a day [http://energy.gov/energysaver/fall-and-winter-energy-saving-tips] can save homeowners around 10% annually on their heating and cooling bill.
To ensure you’re adjusting temperatures properly and in a timely manner, consider installing a programmable thermostat. Based on a pre-set schedule, your thermostat will adjust the temperature automatically without sacrificing your levels of comfort.
Focus on windows and doors
Windows and doors can positively or negatively impact your home’s energy efficiency. One way to use them to your benefit is to take advantage of the sun [http://energy.gov/energysaver/fall-and-winter-energy-saving-tips]. While temperatures outside your home are cool, the sun’s rays can naturally help to heat your home. Consider opening curtains on your south-facing windows during the day, closing them once the sun goes down.
If your windows are drafty, install a clear plastic sheet around the window frames to effectively seal off any openings. You can also install tight-fitting window treatments and coverings to improve energy efficiency. Finally, consider locking your windows before the cold weather arrives, as locked windows are more tightly pressed together than those that are simply shut.
Consider a portable heater
Colder temperatures often mean people congregating inside one’s home. And if you’re expecting holiday guests, that statement couldn’t be truer. For days and evenings when friends and family are gathered in one space, think about bringing in a portable heater. Doing so will allow you to turn down the thermostat. While the rest of your home is cool, the room you’re gathered in will be warm. To further maximize circulation and the heater’s effectiveness, consider placing a few around your home, in bedrooms, and other common areas.
Clean your vents
Dirty filters and vents can restrict airflow and increase energy use. To ensure your heat is flowing properly, take the time to replace or clean your vents and filters. The beginning of each season is the best time to do so. According to the Department of Energy, changing your HVAC filter can improve the efficiency of your equipment by 5% o 15% [http://www.mycomfortguard.com/blog/often-change-air-filter/]. While that number may seem small, that percentage of energy saved can lead up to a $30 monthly savings.
Call the specialists
ABC Home & Commercial Services can provide you with reliable year-round service for all of your air conditioning and heating needs. Our team of experts will work with you to ensure your heating system is working seamlessly all winter long.