Whether you enjoy winter or prefer to stay tucked up in the colder months, it is important to ensure that the temperature inside your home keeps you comfortable. Unfortunately, this is usually associated with a dramatic increase in energy bills, but we have some tips to help reduce your energy bills this winter.
Assess Your Weather Stripping
After years of wear, the seals around doors and windows can become weathered and damaged. Unfortunately, this creates drafts that can allow your heated air to escape your home, wasting energy and reducing your comfort level. Walk around your home to check all the weather stripping around any doors and windows to see if it needs to be replaced.
Use Your Window Coverings
Whether you have blinds, drapes or other window coverings, they can be a vital component of keeping your home feeling warm. Ensure that your window coverings are fully open during the day to allow the winter sun to warm your room, but be sure to close them when it starts to get dark, so your warmed air won’t escape.
Change Your HVAC Filters
Although many experts suggest replacing filters regularly, you may not be aware of the impact it can have on your home heating. Your filters should be replaced every one to three months, but the frequency will depend on a number of factors, such as the number of people in your household, whether you have pets or smokers in your home and the type of filter. Allowing your filter to get clogged up will reduce the airflow through your system, forcing your equipment to work harder to maintain your desired temperature and comfort level. This will not only increase your energy usage, but it will also place your system under excessive strain, increasing the risk of a breakdown issue developing.
Invest in a New Thermostat
When trying to save money, it may seem counterintuitive to spend cash on a new thermostat, but investing in a new model can contribute to significant savings. A programmable thermostat is more than a convenient tool to keep your home warm; it will allow you to tailor your heating to your habits to save money on your bills. You can program your system to warm up your home when you’re due to arrive home, but turn off when no one is home. Additionally, if you opt for a smart thermostat, it will learn your habits and tailor your system for optimum efficiency. According to Department of Energy data, setting a thermostat just five degrees lower for eight hours a day could add up to five percent savings in energy costs. When used properly, a programmable thermostat could save hundreds of dollars in energy bills each year.
Insulate Your Attic
Your attic space can contribute to significant heat loss if it is not properly insulated. As heat rises, you need to make sure that as the highest point of your home, your attic has lots of insulation. While you’re checking your insulation, it is a good idea to see if the insulation on your boiler, pipes, and ducts has degraded and needs attention.
Schedule Routine Maintenance
Just like you’d take your car in for a service before a long road trip, your heating system can benefit from a check up before the demands of winter. A professional HVAC technician can not only perform routine maintenance, but can also ensure that your system is operating at peak efficiency. This type of maintenance appointment also provides an ideal opportunity for preventative maintenance; replacing any worn components before they fail and trigger a breakdown. This will not only help to avoid the inconvenience of trying to get a repair performed during the coldest days of the year, but also reduce the risk of costly repair bills.
Assess Your Bills
Since heating our homes accounts for a significant portion of energy usage, it is not unusual for energy bills to increase during the colder winter months. So, although you can expect your bills to be higher, it is still important to assess your bills regularly. If your energy bills are continually increasing, even with your efforts to improve efficiency, it is a good idea to consider upgrading your heating equipment. Investing in a new high efficiency boiler or furnace will cost you more initially, but it will save you money in the long term. Your new system will offer exceptional efficiency that will not only pay for itself, but also provide you with peace of mind. The equipment is likely to be supplied with a comprehensive warranty, which will eliminate the worry about expensive repair bills.
Change Your Utility Company
The internet has made it easier to find the best deals in a variety of areas including utilities. So, it is a good idea to search for the best deals and consider changing your utility company. You may not even need to change suppliers if your utility company operates a more attractive budget plan. This will allow you to average out your payments, so you can spread the cost of larger winter heating bills across the year.
Use Your Fireplace Damper
A fire can make your room feel warm and cozy, but If your fireplace is not in use, you need to ensure that you use your fireplace damper. The damper needs to be set into the closed position as an open damper is like leaving a window open. This will allow heated air to just drift out of your home.
It is also worth considering that many experts agree that typical fireplaces lose more heat than they actually generate. This is particularly true if you live in a colder climate, where the smoke rising up into the chimney encourages heated air to follow it out of the home. If you can’t live without a fire in winter, you should consider installing an insert to make a better use of the heat generated inside your fireplace.
If you have concerns about the energy efficiency of your heating system and home, it is worth speaking to a professional HVAC technician. An experienced specialist can perform a home audit to determine the ways to boost efficiency and reduce your energy bills.