Winter is on its way, bringing with it low temperatures and high heating bills. But there are ways to take control of your home heating costs. Almost half of the average home’s total annual energy expenses is directly related to heating and cooling, so to really increase your energy savings in the winter, increasing your heating system’s efficiency can have big payoffs.
Try some of these tips to keep your West Point area home warm and your wallet happy in the coming months:
Keep Up-to-Date on Your Furnace Maintenance
Heating and cooling systems should be serviced every year, and as you transition from a long period of furnace inactivity into a season where you may be relying on it more frequently is a wise time to get that maintenance in. And if you’ve been considering an upgrade or replacement of your current furnace, now’s the time to get that done – not only will you be reaping the benefits on an entire heating season’s worth of improved efficiency, but you may be able to take advantage of tax credits which expire at the end of the year.
Install a Programmable Thermostat
Your heating needs change throughout the day: when most of the household is at work or school, your home doesn’t need to be kept warm, and when you’re sleeping, you have the benefit of insulating blankets and may not need an ambient temperature that’s quite as high as your daytime one. To boost your energy savings in the winter, install a programmable thermostat which will automatically cut back on heating during hours when it’s not needed.
Programmable thermostats come in a range of styles, and can offer surprising flexibility in how their schedules are set up. You can find ones to accommodate different schedules on the weekdays and weekends, different schedules between Saturday and Sunday, and even a different schedule for every day of the week.
Weather-strip Your Doors and Windows
While professional home sealing is a great idea, this is a low-cost project that homeowners can do independently, on their own time. If you live in a drafty home, weather-stripping can give a big boost to your home comfort, as well as your energy savings in the winter.
Inspect Your Furnace Filters, and Replace Them Regularly
Because they catch and filter out particles from the air, air filters naturally become clogged over the course of their usable lives. A clogged air filter impedes airflow, meaning that heated air can’t circulate as easily to all areas of your house. This can lead to decreased home comfort, as well as complications if your furnace’s temperature sensor is in a different part of your home than your furnace: if the heated air doesn’t get there, your furnace won’t know when to scale back on operation.
Make Sure Your Vents Are Clear
Keep vents free from obstruction, whether that’s small objects in the vents themselves or furniture placed in front of them. As above, this impedes air circulation and prevents your home from being heated, forcing your furnace to work harder and increasing your energy bills. Additionally, obstructions in some vents may make their way into the ductwork, and if they travel too near the furnace’s intake fan, they may present a fire hazard.
Use Your Ceiling Fans
You may think of ceiling fans as a fixture of summer, but most fans have two modes: a summer mode and a winter mode. In the winter mode the fan runs in reverse, pushing the hot air that’s risen toward the ceiling back down to circulate where the human activity in the room takes place. This will make you warmer, and is an easy way to increase your energy savings in the winter.
Insulate Your Water Heater – or Consider Tankless Water Heaters
Almost a quarter of the energy that goes into heating your water is used up when no one is using hot water: Your heater keeps water hot even when you’re out for the day (or longer) or asleep. To lower the amount of heat used in this standby mode, insulate your water heater to lower heat loss, or consider a tankless water heater which will provide hot water on demand without needing to maintain a tank of water at a constant temperature.
Talk to Your Local Experts
There are lots of ways to bump up your energy savings in the winter, and a home energy assessment might be the way to get started. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us at Indoor Solutions. We’re proud to serve our clients in the west Georgia area.