Winter is approaching quickly and soon your heater will be working overtime to keep you and your family warm when the bitter cold weather arrives. But all that energy can drive your bill up a great deal.
The average homeowner in the US pays anywhere from $500 to $1,500 during the entirety of the winter season on propane, natural gas, and electric heating. Luckily, there are plenty of options to help you save energy with your heating this year and the following!
1. Turn the Temperature Down When You Can
We know, this is less than ideal but hear us out.
Get in the habit of turning your temperature down to as low as you can bear it when you’re awake at home. When you’re asleep or away from home, turn it down another 10° to 15°. Over a 24 hour period, you can save up to 3 percent on your heating bill per degree lowered.
If you’re a “set it and forget it” kind of a person, it could be wise to invest in a smart or programmable thermostat. Simply set up a predetermined heating schedule and the thermostat will do the rest!
This can be a hard ask for those of us that run cold. But layers will be a lifesaver! They can go a long way! Your cozy sweater and fuzzy blanket will be your allies this winter.
2. Seal Up Your Home
You might as well throw cash out the window if your home isn’t properly sealed. Over time, the calking and weatherstrips that insulate our home start to degrade. It’s important to periodically check if they’re in need of repair.
Check around the seams of your windows and doors. Do you feel a slight breeze escaping through? If so, it might be time to do some repairs. You can save roughly 18% on your annual utility bill if your home is properly sealed.
3. Cover Your Windows
Even after you diligently seal every crack in your windows, there’s still the potential for heat transfer. Windows allow for the warm air inside your home to give up energy as it meets their cold glass barrier. If you cover your windows, you can reduce this heat transfer.
Seal up your windows tightly with plastic sheeting or film. Tape it off as close to the frame as possible to reduce any air infiltration. This extra layer of insulation can help keep the chilly winter temperatures out.
If you don’t feel motivated to break out the tape and plastic wrap, you can opt for a more traditional option. Heavy curtains are another great way to reduce heat transfer. When drawn closed, they can create a sort of “dead-zone” where the warm air and cool surface of the window won’t meet.
4. Don’t Forget to Service Your Heater
Most HVAC professionals agree, heaters require service at least once a year. A typical furnace will last you anywhere from 18 to 20 years. But if you don’t regularly service it, you might shorten its lifespan. Furthermore, if issues go unchecked, it could reduce your furnace’s ability to heat your home efficiently.
WM Buffington is your trusted resource when it comes time to service your heater! If you’re in the Central Pennsylvania area, don’t hesitate to contact us about any of your HVAC and plumbing needs!
5. If You’re Not Using It, Seal Your Chimney
Just as air can escape through degraded seams on doors and windows, it can also escape through a chimney. Large quantities of warm air can escape through the flue, costing you more money on your monthly electricity bill.
There are several routes you can take if you want to reduce airflow through your chimney. First, be sure the flue is clean. It’s not a bad idea to call out a professional to inspect and clean it. Next, decide how you want to go about sealing it.
One way to seal a chimney is to cut metal sheeting to fit the size of your chimney opening and sealing it up with butyl rubber caulk. If you want an easier option, you could try installing a chimney balloon.
6. Use Your Ceiling Fan
Using a ceiling fan during the dead of winter might not seem helpful but it can actually be a great tool. During the summer we use our ceiling fan to pull hot air up and away from us. What you might not know is there’s an option to set your fan in reverse.
When you reverse your fan it pushes air down. Since heat rises, the hot air in our homes can get trapped close to the ceiling. You can use a fan to push all that hot air down for you and your family to enjoy.
Don’t get caught in the “more power!” thought process when all you truly need is a few tips to kickstart your winter preparations.
For a final tip, if you have a fireplace… use it! Fireplaces have been used for years to keep homes warm during the coldest of temperatures. Whether fake or real, try to use the fireplace whenever possible while keeping your regular thermostat temperature in the house as low as possible without freezing yourself and your pipes.