The winter is here and the nights are colder. It is again that time of the year many homeowners suffer from troubled sleeping and worry about higher heating bills.
There is no wonder. Heating costs take up a significant chunk of one’s home budget in the winter, but fret not. Help is coming because below are simple ways on how to become energy efficient, keep your home warm and save money on heating bills.
Explore the Air Leaks
Where is the cold air leaking in your home? It is the time (or possibly earlier) to look around and spot where the cold air is leaking from the outside in.
Check on the windows and doors that are not sealing properly because they can be significant contributors to heat loss.
You can use weather stripping materials to seal those gaps. On the other hand, you can use plastic treatment for a single pane window for insulation. (More on this in a bit)
Or, perhaps your home is leaking out hot air. It is another issue that you have to address. Aside from the windows, the leaks can be near the attic, around the door, around electrical outlets and places the cables and wires are passing through.
To fix the leaks, start sealing around openings as well as vents, wires and pipes using weather stripping or caulk.
Use the sun for free heat
Using the sun’s energy can save you money this season. It is as simple as opening the curtains on south-facing windows where the sun is shining the most to warm your home.
During the day, you can let the sunshine in even if it is freezing cold outside because sunrays are still able to produce heat. Where possible, you should also consider trimming any trees or shrubs blocking the sunlight.
Just don’t forget closing the blinds or curtain at night to reduce drafts.
Nevertheless, letting the sunshine into your home at daytime can reduce heating cost.
Adjust the thermostat at night
You should turn the heat down, as one of the best ways to save on heating cost in the winter.
After all, you can use an extra blanket to keep yourself warm and sleep better with cooler air. By doing so, you can save up to 1% for every lowered degree per eight hours.
One tip is to keep the thermostat setting 68 at daytime and 55 at nighttime.
By turning it down at night, you can also save as much as 13% on your heating cost.
But for the best results, you might want to invest on a programmable thermostat, which can save you up to 20% on your heating bill, to regulate your home’s temperature automatically.
And during the day, you can simply dress in layers to keep yourself warm. Wear long pants, sweater and slippers or thick socks to complete your winter ensemble. And as you get from the outside, you can wear a sweatshirt over normal clothing after taking off your coat.
Keep your furnace clean and unblocked
Another way to save money in the winter is to ensure your furnace is clean and unblocked by any debris, dust and dirt. It is the time to gear up and clean it up, ideally every two months to increase its efficiency by up to 50%, according to Green Living Online.
Recheck your heating systems
Is your heating system too large for your space? To test it, you can invest on data loggers one to place next to the furnace and another outside. It is a little device that can measure the temperature differences to tell if you have the right system installed on your place or not.
But to recheck your heating system, it is better to seek an experienced heating contractors. They can perform inspection and tune-up to ensure your furnace won’t break down in the coldest times of the year.
The pros can also inspect your heating system, including its furnace and air handlers along with its gas connections and pressure.
Heating technicians can also recheck the heat exchanger for cracks and inspect the flue connection.
These professionals can also recheck the heat pump system as well as detect any issues. Some of these can include abnormal noise and odor as well as improperly working blower and fan belt.
Overall, the HVAC pros can ensure that your heating system is working efficiently. It is one of the best things that will help you save money in the end.
The pros can detect potential efficiency issues and address them before they arise to keep your heating system functional all winter long.
Invest in insulation
Insulation plays an important role in keeping your home warm this winter because it helps in keeping the hot air in, preventing it from escaping, and the cold air out, keeping your home sealed.
Investing in insulation is also a good home improvement that can be tax deductible for a nice return on investment.
One of the best places to start is the basement that is often overlooked by homeowners on matters of insulation. Little they know that insulating it can keep the house warm in the cold season.
In addition, insulate the heating ducts, which can be unsealed losing up to 60% of the heated air right before it reaches the outlet entering your home. It commonly happens particularly for ducts traveling through the basement or attic, two unheated spaces in many households.
But by considering sealing the ducts passing through these areas, you won’t just save at least 10% of your energy bill but also make sure that you can retain the energy and heat at home.
You should also pay close attention to the windows that contribute to about 25% of heat loss in your home. Insulate them with plastic cover, as mentioned, or use weather stripping materials.
You can also consider glazing as one of the best ways to insulate the windows. Alternatively, you can put blankets over uncovered windows especially at night when the temperature is the coldest.
Saving on heating cost is possible by adjusting the thermostat at night, insulting your home, exploring air leaks, using the sun’s energy, hiring heating contractors to recheck your system and keeping the furnace clean. Follow these tips and notice the difference in your next heating bill.