With winter upon us, it is never too late to take steps to save on your winter energy costs. There are some simple and inexpensive ways to save substantial amounts of your energy budget during the cold season. You can perform many of these energy-saving tasks yourself without professional assistance, but some tasks to save costs are best performed by a professional.
Simple things you can do to save energy costs
When you realize that heating costs account for nearly 50% of the energy costs spent in most living spaces, it becomes apparent that there can be substantial savings achieved by just performing some common sense tasks.
Simple tasks to save energy costs include measures such as simply lowering the temperature of your water heater to 120 degrees, as every 10 degrees above 120 degrees will increase your energy bill by 3-5%. Also, lower the setting on your home’s thermostat, particularly during those times of the day when no one is at home. Decreasing the thermostat setting at those times by 7-10 degrees will achieve large energy cost savings.
Another water heater trick is to insulate the water heater with an insulating jacket, particularly if your water heater is older. Consider wrapping hot water pipes with insulating materials to help prevent heat loss.
After dealing with the water heater, check and change your furnace filters as necessary to help your furnace to run more efficiently.
Caulking leaks and cracks in the interior and exterior areas of your home can save you substantial amounts of energy costs. Cracks and gaps around windows, pipes, chimneys, and other areas will drain your heating budget. You can easily remedy these problems with a tube of caulk and a caulking gun to fill those gaps that are draining heat from your living space.
If your home has inefficient windows, a sizable amount of heat will escape from your home as the warm heated air in your home contacts the cold window glass. An inexpensive way to combat this issue is to apply a window film or shrink-wrap to your windows. It is estimated that this simple fix will help you retain about 50% of your home’s heat.
Close the damper on your fireplace when it is not in use. You would be amazed at the number of people that forget this simple step and let heat flow out of their chimney.
Reversing the direction your ceiling fans turn during the winter is another of those simple cost-saving measures. Most fans have a switch you set to easily reverse the direction of the fan for the cold weather season. You can also effectuate a decrease in heat loss by closing drapes and blinds at night when the sun is not streaming through your windows.
Another heat thief is your basement area. If you have an unfinished basement, consider installing insulation and save up to 30% of your energy costs related to heating. Saving some energy costs unrelated to heating is also a matter of common sense-all you need to do is replace old light bulbs with LED bulbs.
Tasks for a professional
There are some tasks which most people are simply not equipped with the tools or knowledge to complete when it comes to home heating systems. Hiring a professional is not only smart from a standpoint of getting the work done properly, it is smart from a safety perspective.
Regardless of where you live, chances are you have multiple sources for quality heating repairs and heating installation near you. These professionals can help you save money, starting from the simple installation of a programmable thermostat that can be programmed to efficiently use the heating energy needed to keep your home comfortable.
Be sure to look for installers that are locally-owned, and are a complete residential heating and cooling service. While it isn’t always the case, many locally-owned companies take extra pride in their work and customer services. Regardless, make sure the company you choose can repair and maintain any major brand of heating system quickly at a fair price and will back its work with a 100% guarantee. This indicates confidence in the work its professional technicians perform.
If your home needs a new HVAC system, call a tech to come visit your home and test your system needs. You can expect your system to last somewhere between 10 and 14 years. If your system has reached that age, it is definitely time to get an evaluation.
And one last thing – make sure whoever you choose is a certified dealer/installer with major HVAC brands. Many HVAC manufacturers are top-of-the-line, and most back their equipment with multi-year warranties on the parts of your system, and even lifetime warranties on heat exchanges. The professional installation technicians you hire will perform a quality installation of your new heating system, and it’ll be warrantied to boot. It’s a win win.