Along the Front Range of Colorado, we don’t get much of a break between weather and temperature extremes. A 70-degree day can be followed by a snowstorm that drops 6 inches across Denver metro.
That means you’re constantly running your HVAC system, sometimes switching back and forth between AC and heat in the same week.
So, perhaps you’ve come to accept the costs associated with running these systems. But today, Aspen Creek Heating and Air would like to offer a few easy tips on lowering your winter utility bills.
By taking these steps, and cutting back on energy waste throughout your home, you may be pleasantly surprised to have a warm and toasty home and extra cash in your wallet.
Even More Ideas for Controlling Your Energy Use
- Let the sun shine in and warm your home by opening the shades and drapes to allow the sun’s natural heating to warm your home. Then close them at sunset to keep the warm air in and insulate your home.
- Lowering your winter utility bills can be as easy as relocating furniture so you are sitting near interior walls while avoiding exterior walls and old windows that are drafty.
- 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, make sure the damper is closed.
- Eliminate other sources of wasted energy. Turn off lights if not in use and unplug appliances in the garage if you don’t really need them because. This can add about 10-25 % to your heating bill. Also, turn off kitchen and bath fans after use as these fans can blow out a lot of heated air.
- 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, so cutting down your showers in half may reduce your water heating costs by 33 percent overall. Huge savings!
- Use appliances efficiently by only doing full loads when using your dishwasher, clothes dryer, and washer. Use the cold water setting when possible and reduce your washer machine’s energy by 75 percent. And don’t forget to clean the clothes dryer’s lint trap after every use.
- Put your computer and monitor to sleep. Computers come with the power management features turned off, so put them to work. If you use a Mac, look for a setting in your Control Panel called “Energy Saver” and set it accordingly. If you leave it in sleep mode overnight, it will draw minimal energy.
Get a Handle on Lowering Your Winter Utility Bills
Beyond general energy saving tips, you can go the extra mile by exploring these ideas:
- 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 for lowering your winter utility bills. By keeping your furnace clean, lubricated and properly adjusted, you can reduce energy use by up to 5 percent.
- 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.
- 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 HVAC pipes, vents or electrical conduits that go through the walls, ceilings or floors.
- Check the bathroom, 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 products to close the larger gaps are available at the hardware store.
- Consider replacing your old gas appliances with an ENERGY STAR® water heater or furnace.
- Invest in high-efficiency windows. The right products can help with lowering your winter utility bills by up to 15 percent, and your summer AC costs too.
- Increase the amount of ceiling insulation or upgrade to R-38.
One of the best ways manage heating costs is by using a programmable thermostat to turn on the heat or AC using 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 if you’re looking at lowering your winter utility bills. Proper furnace maintenance and service should be performed at least twice a year. Your systems need to be cleaned and 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, more if parts need to be replaced.
As you can see, lowering your winter utility bills 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 excellent service and complete, thorough inspections throughout your home’s heating and cooling systems. Give us a call today for more information.