Aspen Creek Heating and Air knows that when winter comes, controlling your heating bill can be quite a chore. Kids and family, friends and visitors, all running in and out of the home, can really make keeping a house toasty and warm a difficult task. Let’s talk about some easy ideas to lower your heating bills while ensuring that your home is warm and as energy efficient as it can be. Take these steps, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the amount of leftover cash in your wallet this year!
To get started, here are some easy ideas for controlling your heating bill and overall energy use:
1. Let the sun shine in and warm your tootsies by opening the shades and drapes allowing the sun’s natural heating to warm your home. Be sure to close them at sunset to keep the warm air in and insulate the home.
2. Relocate the furniture so you are sitting near interior walls, avoiding exterior walls and old windows because they are likely to be drafty.
3. Traditional fireplaces are energy suckers. It’s best to avoid them as they pull heated air out of the house and back up into the chimney. If you are not using them daily, then make certain the damper is closed, also, ensure that you don’t have any smoldering embers hanging around. Remember dampers don’t shut fully without leaking.
4. Eliminate wasted energy. Turn off lights if not in use, unplug appliances in the garage if you don’t really need them because this adds about 10-25 % to your heating bill. Turn off the kitchen and bath ventilating fans after use as these fans can blow out a lot of heated air if left on.
5. Shortening showers by a few minutes can potentially save up to hundreds of gallons of hot water each month for a family of four. Showers account for 2/3 of your water heating costs if you can believe it! Cutting down your showers in half may reduce your water heating costs by 33 percent overall. Huge savings!
6. Use appliances efficiently by only doing full loads when using your dishwasher, clothes dryer, and clothes washer. Use the cold water setting when possible and reduce your washer machine’s energy by 75 percent. Clean the clothes dryer’s lint trap after every use. Use the moisture-sensing automatic drying setting on your dryer if you have one for even more benefits.
7. Put your computer and monitor to sleep always. Most computers come with the power management features turned off, so be sure to turn it on. Those who use Macintosh computers, simply look for the setting in your Control Panel called “Energy Saver” and set it accordingly. If you leave it in sleep mode overnight, it will still be drawing a small amount of energy.
To really get a handle on controlling your heating bill, delve a little deeper into these energy saving tips and practices by going the extra mile and having some of your HVAC appliances looked at and inspected by the professionals.
• Turn down your thermostat to 68 degrees or more. For every degree you lower the thermostat in the 60-70 degree range, you’ll save up to 5 percent on heating costs. That just means wearing warmer clothing like a sweater and slippers during the day. Of course, health issues may interfere with this theory, so take that into account.
• Set the thermostat at 55 degrees or even off at night, and if you plan on leaving home for an extended period, that will give you a savings of about 5-20 percent of your heating costs.
• Replace or clean furnace filters as suggested by your local HVAC professional. Dirty filters restrict airflow and increase energy use.
• A furnace tune-up is a must at this time too. By keeping your furnace clean, lubricated and properly adjusted, you will reduce energy use by up to 5 percent of heating costs savings.
• Reduce the hot water temperature setting to the “normal” setting or 120-degrees Fahrenheit on your dishwasher, unless the owner’s manual for the dishwasher needs an even higher setting.
• Seal up leaks and caulk around windows and doors. Be sure to look for places where you have pipes, vents or electrical conduits that go through the walls, ceilings or floors.
• Check the bathroom, the kitchen sink, pipes inside a closet, basement fixtures or anywhere you find a gap at the point where the pipes and vents go through the wall, and seal it up. Caulk works best on small gaps, and you should have products to close the larger gaps available at the hardware store.
• Consider replacing your old gas appliances with an ENERGY STAR® water heater or furnace.
• Invest in some high-efficiency windows. This will help decrease your heating in the winter cost, and cooling in the summer cost by up to 15 percent. A great option if you are looking to upgrade older windows.
• Increase the amount of ceiling insulation or upgrade to R-38.
One of the best ways to make life easier when managing heating costs is by using a programmable thermostat to turn on the heating or air-conditioning per a pre-set schedule. They can store and repeat multiple daily settings that you can override without altering the rest of the daily or weekly program. This is a great option for busy lives and will not make you a slave to controlling the temperature.
Maintenance of your heating systems is one of the best things you can do to control your home’s heat and comfort level. Proper furnace maintenance and service should be performed at least twice a year. Your systems need to be cleaned, and the worn-out parts replaced if necessary. In the long run, this small expense can save you many headaches and lost money to major unnecessary repairs. You can expect to spend on average approximately $40-$250 for a service call. If replacement parts are required, you can tack that on to the cost as well. Never attempt to handle your heating systems on your own, the damage could be irreparable.
As you can see, controlling your heating bill is not rocket science! With the help of a qualified HVAC company like Aspen Creek Heating and Air, you can keep your heating costs as low as possible because we take the time to provide excellence service and complete, thorough inspections throughout your home’s heating and cooling systems. Give us a call today for more information.