Winter is in full swing, with some of the coldest days of the year yet to come. Unfortunately, rising energy costs can make it increasingly difficult to keep your home comfortable without breaking the bank. Fortunately, you don’t have to consider taking on a second job just to stay warm and cozy. Here are five of the most effective strategies to help you keep costs down during the coldest months of the year.
If it seems like your furnace is running nonstop, it might be because it can’t keep up with the cold air that’s leaking in. The first step to combat this problem is to check some of the most common areas where heat can escape. Windows, fireplaces, doors, walls, and attics are all areas that are prone to letting cold air in either through cracks and gaps or poor insulation.
To keep your furnace from working overtime, identify any areas where you can feel cold air coming in. For instance, are the entry doors to your home well-sealed? Is the weatherstripping in good shape and not cracked or torn? Windows are another common area where cold air can seep in. If your windows are more than 15 years old, know that the seals can start to fail. If you notice a draft by your windows, or if you hear a whistle when the wind blows, it’s a sure sign that you’re letting the cold air in and warm air out
If your windows and doors seem to be well sealed, the next thing you’ll want to check is your attic. Since heat rises, if you don’t have a well-insulated attic, it might just be going up and escaping through the roof. Adding an extra layer of high-quality insulation to your home is another great way to prevent this from happening and keep the heat right where you want it.
It makes sense that by turning down your thermostat, you can save a considerable amount of money on your heating bills. However, remembering to turn down the heat at night or when you’re away can be a hassle. That’s where a programmable thermostat can be a big help.
Programmable thermostats allow you to set the temperature in your home to automatically drop at night and during times when no one is home, thereby reducing your overall energy usage. Many of these devices can be adjusted even when you’re not at home, just by using an app on your phone. This makes it easy to change the thermostat setting when plans change and, for instance, you decide to extend your vacation a couple of extra days.
Another way to save money on your heating bill is to keep up with furnace maintenance. Regular maintenance can help ensure that your furnace is running efficiently and not wasting energy, which can help you save money in the long run. It’s important to have your furnace inspected and serviced at least once every year by a qualified technician to keep it running at its best.
At WM Buffington, we offer planned maintenance programs that include service either once or twice a year plus discounted rates on services and equipment. If you’re in the Central Pennsylvania area and want to learn more about it, check out the heating page on our website.
Even the newest, most energy-efficient windows can still let a small amount of cold air in. The best way to prevent this from happening is to invest in thermal insulated curtains. They’re an inexpensive way to keep another protective layer between you and the cold air. Plus, they’re available in a variety of styles and lengths and can be found at just about any store that sells home goods.
If you do decide to put up thermal curtains, be aware that they also do a good job of keeping the sunlight out. On especially sunny days, you might be further ahead opening up your curtains so you can take advantage of the free heat the sun provides.
Cooking at home may seem like a strange way to save on your heating bill, but you’d be amazed at just how much heat your stove generates. Consider making a pot of soup and maybe baking some muffins while you’re at it – just don’t forget to prop open the oven door after you’re done to take advantage of some of the residual heat. Choosing to do more cooking at home during the winter will not only save you money on restaurant bills, but you’ll also enjoy a delicious meal in the comfort of a warm and cozy home.
For more information and tips on home heating, air conditioning, and plumbing, visit WM Buffington’s blog page, or feel free to contact us directly.