The winter months always seem to sneak up and arrive faster than anticipated.
One day you’re spending all day outside, and the next, you’re inside bundling up and trying to stay warm. Unfortunately, like all homeowners and property owners know, winter weather and higher energy bills ride in the same sleigh. The burden of keeping your home warm and cozy comes at a cost, but that cost can be mitigated through several small but effective tasks.
Here are some things you can do to keep your home warm and your energy bills down during the winter:
Install a Programmable Thermostat
Having a programmable or smart thermostat is becoming more commonplace for good reason. It is an extremely convenient and affordable way to keep your heating bill down during the winter while maintaining your family’s comfort during the cold days. You can decide what times during the day to heat up and cool down your home and program your thermostat accordingly. This allows you to pinpoint when the heat is needed rather than constantly managing your thermostat or leaving it on, which will drive up your gas/heating bill.
Let the Sun In
In the age of technology, sometimes going the old-fashioned route is the most effective, and nothing is as tried and true as simply letting in the sun. Opening your blinds can be one of the most effective ways to heat your home during the day. This raises the temperature in your home, preventing the heat from kicking in, relegating its usage to the nighttime. Saving half a day’s worth of heating can pay significant dividends when your heating bill comes.
Shut The Door
If you have rooms that you and your family spend most of your time in, it is best practice to shut the doors to all of the others. This will allow the heat to stay in that room rather than escape out into the hallways and the rest of the house. By cordoning off the sections of the house that need to be heated, it puts less stress on your furnace than it would otherwise have to take on heating your home as one combined area. This reduction of workload increases your furnace’s lifespan while simultaneously lowering your energy costs.
Replace Your Air Filters
A simple but effective chore, replacing your air filters can save you money on your energy costs year-round. Changing old dusty filters for new ones prevents a build-up of dust in your ducts which can impede its effectiveness or outright damage your HVAC system. Clogged-up ducts will force your heating system to work much harder to heat your home, forcing you to pay more in energy cost for the same or even lesser results.
Caulk The Cracks
As the winter months approach, it is imperative to inspect your windows or have your home evaluated by a qualified contractor to find cracks that can let cold air in. Even relatively minuscule cracks around your window frames can let a ton of cold air into your home, significantly dropping its temperature and forcing your heating system to work that much harder to heat your home. Should you find any of these cracks in your window frames, it is recommended that you caulk them as a DIY project or call your local contractor to make sure that your windows are completely sealed. This relatively inexpensive and simple task can save you a ton of money in energy costs throughout the winter.
Use Vent Fans Sparingly
Fans have a ton of utility in your kitchen and bathroom, sucking out smoke, moisture, and undesirable smells. Unfortunately, during the winter, they can also suck out a good portion of the hot air your heating system is pumping in. In your kitchen, you should take proper precautions to ensure all excess smoke and gas fumes from cooking are vented out properly but try to use the vents as sparingly as possible while your heat is simultaneously running. This same principle applies to the bathroom as well, where you should use your vents as needed for excess moisture and ridding the room of smells, but try to relegate its usage as much as possible.
Give Your Vents Some Space
It may seem like common sense, but many neglect to give their vents proper clearance in their homes. It isn’t entirely uncommon for furniture to be situated in front of vents, effectively blocking them and putting a heavier burden on unblocked vents to heat your home. It is essential to know where all vents are in your home and ensure any furniture does not block them and the dampers are fully open to allow for the maximum flow of warm air, lowering the burden on your furnace to heat your home.
Close the Fireplace Damper
Nothing beats sitting in front of a nice warm fireplace during the winter, however, your fireplace and chimney can prove to be a huge source of heat loss if not appropriately situated. It is important to keep your chimney damper closed when your fireplace is not in use, as a significant amount of warm air can be lost through this vent. Additionally, an uncovered fireplace without a glass door or other cover for its opening can cause a loss of heat in your home that’s not in the immediate vicinity, as the warm air provided by your heating system is still flowing up through the chimney as the fire is burning.
Replace an Old Furnace
Finally, if you notice that your heat is running, but your house isn’t running, it may be time to get your furnace professionally evaluated to see if it is time to replace it. While this may have a higher up-front cost, the long-term cost of sticking with an inefficiently running furnace until the end of its lifecycle will leave you with significantly higher energy bills, as well as the eventual cost of replacing it once it completely breaks down. The
Heating your home doesn’t have to come at a crazy cost. As long as you are willing to take these proactive steps before the winter and combine them with the other active steps during the winter, your energy bill should significantly drop lower than it has in winter’s past.
Need your home inspected to see if it is winter ready? Contact A-Line Contractors today.