How to Cut Down on Your Energy Spending This Winter
With winter finally upon us, it is more important than ever before to ensure your home stays warm and cozy during the cold winter months. Unfortunately, this often means exorbitantly high energy bills due to the overtime and extra that your heating and cooling system must perform. Heating and cooling systems take up a huge chunk of your energy bills. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, as much as 56 percent of energy use in your home is due to heating and cooling. That means that staying warm for the winter can come at a heavy cost.
There are steps that you can take to cut costs without having to freeze all winter long. While you may be thinking this means you have to be bundled up inside your house all winter, this is, fortunately, not the case. Here are some great tips that will help you keep warm this winter while cutting costs on your energy spending:
Seal It Up
Nothing is more frustrating than when the heat is on and you are still freezing inside your home. While there may be any number of reasons for your heating system to appear as though it is blowing cold air, chances are it is due to escaping air. When your home allows warm air to escape, you’ll have a much harder time ensuring it stays warm. Additionally, you will see energy costs growing and growing as you try to compensate for the cold air. Your HVAC system will have to work harder and longer just to achieve the same amount of warmth. With proper insulation in your home, attic, or basement, you can save anywhere from 10 to 50 percent on energy costs. Be sure to have a licensed and experienced professional inspect and assess your home for potential leaks.
Warm air isn’t the only problem you may experience if you have leaks in your home. Indoor air pollution is a serious problem. You want to be sure your indoor air quality is always up to your standards. Without proper air circulation, you and your family could find yourselves with unforeseen health issues. Air circulation and home sealing go hand in hand. Proper ventilation goes with home sealing, as sealing leaks without considering ventilation could actually cause other problems (like excessive moisture). Take a closer look at exhaust fans, duct systems, and other components to ensure these are installed, cleaned, and repaired properly to make certain your home will be comfortable for all — and that your system will last for longer.
Consider a humidifier during colder outdoor temperatures because moist air feels warmer, causing you to run your furnace less.
Your windows are constantly in a battle with your heating system to keep your home cool. A lot of hot air escapes through your window’s glass, causing temperatures to drop and your system to work harder to produce the same amount of heat. This means higher energy costs and an uncomfortable home. Fortunately, this can be an easy fix. You won’t need to go through major renovations or repairs in order to fix this issue. In fact, with just a few accessories, you can keep the hot air inside and prevent your home from becoming an icebox. By switching out conventional blinds for blackout curtains, you could save up to 25 percent on heating costs. Blackout curtains block out excessive light and noise, which is extremely useful when it comes to keeping a room warm at night. However, during the day, you want to be sure to open up the curtains to allow the bright sunlight to help warm your home.
Additionally, you can add a protective window film to your window panes to keep out cold air. These films are incredibly easy to install and are a great option for renters who aren’t able to make significant changes or for homeowners on a budget.
It common to forget about your furnace until you need it, but caring for it all your long will lengthen its lifespan and maintain its efficiency. There are so many pieces and parts to check which you can do on your own on a regular basis, especially during winter months. More importantly, you need to have a professional HVAC technician check your entire heating system once a year.
They will do an extensive check to make sure each part of the heating system works correctly, and warm air is running throughout your home to keep it warm and cozy while performing at its best level. If you are someone who thinks this is a great idea but seem to forget to schedule an appointment, typically in fall, for annual professional maintenance, you may want to look into a furnace maintenance plan.
The most effective way to ensure your energy bill is reduced is to smartly adjust your thermostat. Many thermostats today are programmable. Even if your thermostat is not programmable, it is important to stay on top of your thermostat temperatures. During the day, when the sun is shining and many people are at work, it is suggested that you turn your thermostat temperature down by at least 7 to 10 degrees for up to 8 hours a day. Lowering your thermostat temperature while you are not at home could save you up to 10 percent of your energy costs for the entire year!
If you are interested in keeping your energy costs low but aren’t home enough to manually adjust your thermostat, consider installing a smart thermostat. A smart, programmable thermostat will allow you to set your thermostat temperature once and then promptly forget about it. Thus will help you keep your heating system well regulated and programmed to your exact specifications, even if you are not home to manually change the temperature. Being able to passively save money on these monthly bills will make any extra installation costs well worth it.
Block Empty Rooms
If you have vacant rooms in your home, close the vents, shut the door and place a blanket or some other type of airflow blocker along the bottom of the door. This will keep you from having to heat this room all winter. It’s a good idea to take that step now while the weather is relatively mild, so you’re not heating the room when the first cold snap hits.
If it’s been a year or so since you had your system looked at, or if your bills have been steadily increasing each year with no obvious cause, it may be time to schedule routine maintenance for your heating and cooling system. Even if there aren’t any big issues to fix, your technician may be able to suggest new options or help you prepare for what’s to come.
If you contact the experienced, friendly, and professionals at Home Comfort Experts, they will perform their signature 20-point maintenance and safety inspection. This in-depth inspection goes further than any competitor to ensure every single part of your system is thoroughly inspected and serviced. Ask about joining the Comfort Club, Home Comfort Expert’s exclusive membership that guarantees appointments and provides valuable free services and discounts on repairs. Contact the heating and cooling professionals at Home Comfort Experts today to learn about the ways we can help you. We serve Northern Indiana and Southwestern Michigan from our 12 locations. Give us a call at (574) 255-4600 to learn about our full complement of heating, cooling and plumbing services.