Depending on the weather, your home, and your heating system, winter can be a time of year when your utility costs go up. When thinking about your energy bills in the winter, there are a number of things you can do to keep your heating (and in warmer parts of the country, sometimes your air conditioning) costs low throughout the season.
How to Save on Energy Costs This Winter
Read on to learn how to put winter energy saving tips to work to reduce your utility bills.
Maintain Your Equipment
Your HVAC unit needs occasional attention to make sure it’s running at peak efficiency. It’s a good idea to schedule an annual inspection with a licensed heating and air conditioning technician. Experts such as the ones we have at ABC Home & Commerical Services can take a look at the unit’s coils and connections. They will check your vents and test your equipment to make sure it’s running at top efficiency. If your unit isn’t working right, we can also recommend and install a new more energy-efficient model or recommend improvements to your system.
Beyond inspections, Energy Star recommends that you check your unit’s air filter every month, and replace it once a month if it gets dirty. An air filter clogged with dust and pet hair will significantly reduce your unit’s efficiency, causing it to work harder for less heating or cooling.
Check Your Thermostat
When it’s cold outside, try lowering your thermostat by a degree or two to save on your heating bill. Slightly adjusting the temperature of your thermostat in winter can result in significant savings over the long term. You can do the opposite in the summer to again save some money.
One easy thing you can do to save costs on heating and air conditioning is to install a programmable thermostat. These will allow you to automatically warm or cool your home when you’re at work or when you’re sleeping. Experts estimate that a programmable thermostat can save as much as $150-180 a year in heating and cooling costs by allowing you to run your HVAC unit less when you don’t need it.
Pay Attention To Your Water Heater
A lot of people think that their high energy costs in the winter are due to heating their homes. In many parts of the country, that could be true, but in Texas, it might be another culprit: your water heater. Because of our hot summers and mild winters, many people do not have efficient water heaters or they aren’t properly insulated.
There are a few things you can do to reduce your water heater’s operating costs.
- Lower the water heater’s temperature to 120 degrees.
- Purchase a water heater “blanket”.
- Insulate the outer wall where your water heater is located.
- Check your water heater for hard water deposits (or consult with a plumber).
- If your water heater is old or inefficient, it might be time to replace it with a new one. Consider tankless options that heat water on demand.
Seal Up Leaks
We spend so much money heating or cooling our homes. It’s a shame when some of that air escapes through cracks around windows and doors, or through the walls and roof.
- Seal up air leaks around windows and door frames with caulk or spray foam.
- Add weather stripping on doors to close gaps between the door itself and the doorframe.
- Add insulation yourself to attics, thought you might need to hire a contractor to increase the insulation in your walls.
- Don’t forget your ducts. According to Energy Star, poorly insulated ductwork can be a major waste of energy. If you have exposed ducts, a do-it-yourself project would be to get duct sealant or foil tape and seal up all of the exposed seams in your ductwork.
Simple Things You Can Do To Save
Many of the suggestions above can be rather costly. If your goal is saving some cash, here are a few inexpensive or free things you can do to reduce your heating bill this winter.
- Bundle up. Get yourself some fuzzy socks or slippers and slip on a hoodie.
- Get cozy. When you’re watching tv or reading, throw a blanket over your lap.
- Use natural insulators. Area rugs and curtains can provide extra insulation.
- Shut it down. Close doors to unused rooms, and shut the air vents. No need to heat rooms you’re not using.
- Up your humidity. Increase the humidity in your home to make it feel warmer. You can do this with a humidifier or with house plants.
- Let the sun in. Open curtains on sunny days, especially on west- and south- facing windows. The heat from the sun will raise the room temperature several degrees.
Call On The Experts To Keep Your HVAC System Working For You
When you’re ready for your annual heating and cooling system inspection, or if you need to replace your unit with a new one, call on the experts at ABC Home & Commercial. We can recommend ways to increase the efficiency of your existing unit or help with choosing and installing a new energy efficient model. Together we can work implement various ways to save on heating costs this winter and determine how you can make our home more energy-efficient so that you will see savings throughout the year.