The winter months can be really expensive for homeowners, with all that extra fuel cost to keep the house warm. Fortunately here are some home energy saving tips to reduce those costs and still keep our homes cozy and warm.
Let the Sunshine In
This may be the simplest stay-warm tip for winter. Open those curtains, shutters and drapes to invite the biggest heat source into your home. This is especially effective on the south-facing windows. This may also give you a chance to enjoy the scenery.
Sweaters, Scarves and Socks
Another easy tip. Wear those cozy sweaters and sweatshirts indoors. Keep your slippers handy. Order yourself some thick soft winter socks, and maybe a cozy hat and scarf. But pay attention to the fabric. Avoid materials that will make you feel itchy or stifled. Think about the most comfortable winter clothes you’ve ever owned and consider buying some more. The expense will be offset by running the furnace less.
Use Space Heaters
Heating your house is expensive because you’re heating some much empty space. The vast majority of it is unoccupied. That’s why space heaters can save you money. You can direct them exactly where they need to go, and move them around with you. Newer models of electric space heaters have safety features that reduce their risk. Many of them have thermostats and remote controls. They’re also more efficiency than they used to be, and more eco-friendly.
Use Exhaust Fans Less Often
Think about the exhaust fans in your bathroom and in your kitchen over your stove. What do they do? They suck air out of your house and blow it all outside. That’s a great feature sometimes, but in the winter months, these fans are sucking your warm air right out of your house, costing you money. Use them, but only when necessary.
Turn Your Water Heater Thermostat Down
You can save on hot water costs by reducing your water heater’s temperature from 140 degrees to 120 degrees during winter. This can save you hundreds of dollars a year, depending on the size of your family. Since your body is used to cooler temperatures in the winter, this is healthier too. Going from cool air to very hot water can be something of a shock to your system.
Keep That Flue Closed
A fire in the fireplace is a pleasant tradition, but it doesn’t warm the house. In fact, when you open that flue, a lot of your warm air goes right out the chimney, and the flames exacerbate that process. Plus, burning firewood costs money, and adds soot and other pollutants to the air in your house. Gas fires are cleaner and more efficient than wood-burning, but not by a lot. Don’t tell the family there will be no fires at all this winter if their hearts are really set on it, but don’t make a habit of it, and don’t expect it to warm your home. As always, keep the flue closed whenever there’s no fire.
Get a Smart Thermostat
New advanced thermostats do cost money (approximately $130 to $200) but can make up for it over time through reduced heating and air-conditioning costs. They can not only be programmed to warm the house more when it’s occupied, but they also can be adjusted remotely through an app on your phone. This is handy if you’re going to be away from home longer than you thought and you really don’t need the house to be very warm while no one is home.
Cozify the House
Winter is the perfect time to decorate your house with warm, soft materials. Get the fluffy blankets out and place them conveniently on the sofas. Get some warm flannel sheets and thick comforters for the beds. Rugs make the floors less cold. Thick curtains on the windows at night provide a layer of insulation that keeps the cold air from infiltrating your home. All these factors enable you to run the heat less.
Eliminate Drafts and Air Leaks
Search for cold spots in your house and seal them up with foam, caulk or weather stripping. (These are easier to find if you have access to an infrared thermometer.) Common problem areas include basements, attics, window frames and doors.
Use the Oven Carefully
When food is cooking, use the oven light to check on it instead of opening the oven door, which wastes a lot of hot air and makes the oven work harder. After the food is cooked sufficiently, you can leave the oven door open to let the hot air warm up the kitchen.
Switch Your Ceiling Fan to Winter Mode
Usually you use your ceiling fan to push cool air down. In winter, switch your ceiling fan to winter mode, which pulls cool air up and mixes up the warm air that can otherwise linger up near the ceiling.
Schedule Annual HVAC Maintenance
A yearly visit by an HVAC professional can save money over time by catching malfunctions and reducing inefficiencies that would otherwise go unnoticed or lead to costly problems. Furnaces don’t last forever, but annual maintenance can make them last a lot longer.
Replace Incandescent Light Bulbs with LEDs
This may sound like outdated advice, but most homes still have some old-fashioned inefficient incandescent bulbs. It’s best to replace each of them with LEDs which, despite a higher upfront cost, will save you money in the long run by using about 75% less energy.
For more energy saving expertise, call the Allen team. Allen Service has been servicing Fort Collins, CO homes for over five decades. Owners and brothers, Mike and Jeff Allen are the third generation of the Allen family to run the business. They carry out the tradition of delivering excellent customer service and high-quality parts for all plumbing, heating, and air conditioning projects to your home. When you work with Allen Service, you are working with the best!