If the polar vortex was good for one thing, it helped remind us how important it is to conserve energy this winter. You never know when temperatures could plummet, pushing your heating system to work extra hard. If you can keep your utility bills down throughout the winter, you’re more prepared to weather the occasional shock…in the weather. Here are seven ways you can conserve energy all winter long to lower your utility bills.
1. Lower the Temperature in Your House When You Can
Dropping the temperature in your home, either when you’re not there or when your sleeping, can save quite a bit on your monthly utility bills. The farther you can comfortably drop your thermostat temperature, and the longer you can leave it at that lower temperature, the more you can save each month, and the savings are significant.
Ideally, you should get a programmable thermostat to do the switching for you so that you don’t have to remember. Then, try and lower the thermostat by ten degrees when everyone in the house is out at work and school. You can bring it up again a bit before everyone gets home, and then back down ten degrees after everyone is bundled up in bed.
2. Shrink Wrap Inefficient Windows
If you have older, single pane windows, mainly if they’ve seen better days, they’re likely a significant source of heat loss and cold admittance. Barring having them replaced with new, energy-efficient replacement windows, a major investment, you can shrink wrap them in window film each winter. This film blocks leaks and helps your home retain quite a bit of the heat usually lost through poor quality or older windows.
3. Use Your Ceiling Fans All Winter
It sounds counter-intuitive, given that ceiling fans are used to keep you cool in the summer, but they can also help circulate warm air throughout your house in the winter. The trick is to find the switch (all fans have one) that reverses the spin of the blades. When you run the fan in reverse it “blows” upwards, pushing the hot air which generally rises to the ceiling back down into the living space, allowing you to take advantage of all the warm air already present in your home. Ceiling fans use a minimal amount of energy, so the savings they’ll net you by allowing your heating system to work less, will more than make up for the tiny increase in your electricity bill they cause.
4. Take Advantage of Solar Heating
There’s a free heat source blazing just outside your windows, all day, every day. Take advantage of it! Make sure to open your curtains and blinds on south-facing windows during the day to let the sun naturally warm your home. Then shut them again in the evening to help prevent heat loss.
5. Strategically Close Registers
Remember that heat rises. As a result, your upstairs will naturally be warmer than the rest of your house. Depending on the layout of your home this effect can be more or less dramatic. If there’s quite a difference, you should consider partially or entirely closing some of your upstairs registers. This helps your system send heat where it’s needed – to your lower floors. This simple tweak can help your system run more efficiently, saving you money.
6. Install Weatherstripping
As we said earlier, old windows, and doors as well are significant sources of heat loss. If you’re not interested in having plastic film wrapped over your windows all winter you should consider installing good weatherstripping around all your windows and doors. Weatherstripping helps prevent drafts around their edges, and it’s relatively inexpensive.
7. Make Sure Your Heating System is Clean, Tuned Up and Running Efficiently
If your heating system isn’t running at its most efficient level, you’re automatically losing money every time it comes on. Schedule an appointment with an HVAC professional to come out and give your system a thorough inspection, cleaning, and tune-up. The money you save could pay for the visit!
At Summit Heating & AC, we have the experience to get your heating system working at peak efficiency.
Give us a call or click here, and let us come out and give you a free written estimate today!