The cooling season is winding down in Port Charlotte, and soon it’ll be time to start paying to heat your home. The price of energy is still rising and if you’re dreading the high utility bills that come from staying warm in the winter, it’s time to get a jump on some tasks that can save you money. These fall and winter energy-saving tips can reduce heating bills without compromising comfort.
Maintain the Heating System
The first defense against high winter energy bills is annual preventive maintenance on your heating system. A qualified technician from a reputable HVAC contractor will perform tasks that improve energy efficiency as well as help prevent common problems that reduce comfort and compromise efficiency. You can help improve and maintain HVAC efficiency by performing these DIY maintenance tasks:
- Stock up on air filters. Inspect the air filter every month and replace it when it’s dirty to ensure optimum airflow and prevent dust buildup, which can damage essential components.
- Seal air leaks. No matter how efficient the heating system is, air leaks around doors, windows, and service entrances will compromise efficiency and make equipment work harder to compensate for the loss of warm air and the infiltration of cold air. Seal leaky doors and windows with caulk and weatherstripping, and apply expandable caulk to large gaps around pipes, vents, and other service entrances.
- Install a programmable thermostat to reduce heating costs, and program it to lower the thermostat by 10 to 15 degrees during the time you’re away from home. Every degree you set back the thermostat for eight hours can save you up to 2 percent on your heating bill.
- Seal and insulate the ductwork. Leaky ducts account for up to 40 percent of the air inside leaking out before it reaches your rooms. Seal loose joints with mastic duct sealant. Insulate ducts in crawl spaces, attics, and other unconditioned areas to keep the air inside warm and prevent mold growth from condensation.
Lower the Thermostat
You can save a lot of money over the course of the winter by keeping your thermostat set at 68 degrees or lower. If you like to be toasty in the winter, here are a few fall and winter energy-saving tips that can help stay warm despite the low thermostat.
- Reverse the direction of ceiling fan blades. Your fan will push down warm air that gathers near the ceiling and distribute it evenly throughout the rooms.
- Keep window shades open during the day to take advantage of the heat from the sun. Close them at night to keep the heat inside.
- Bundle up in a throw blanket to help you stay warm while you’re watching TV or working on the computer. Keep a few of these blankets in the rooms you spend the most time in.
- Invest in a good pair of thermal underwear and a thin knit hat that you can wear indoors to keep your body heat from escaping and help you stay warmer at lower thermostat settings.
- Turn the thermostat back 10 to 15 degrees while you sleep and stay warm with extra blankets or an electric blanket.
- Take advantage of the heat generated from cooking. When you’re done with the oven, open the door to let the heat escape into your rooms.
Use Less Water and Water Heating
Fall and winter energy-saving tips aren’t just about the heating system. Heating water for the home accounts for about 20 percent of your annual utilities. Save money on your water and water heating bills with these tips:
- Lower the water heater thermostat to 120 degrees. Higher settings cost more, increase the risk of scalding, and promote sediment buildup and corrosion in the heater’s tank.
- Insulate the water heater tank and the exposed cold and hot water pipes to save up to 9 percent on water heating.
- Install low-flow fixtures in the bathroom and kitchen.
- Run the dishwasher and clothes washer on the shortest cycle.
- Use cold water to wash clothes to save money and preserve fabrics.
- Limit showers to 10 minutes or less.
Remember the Lighting
Keeping your home well-lit can cost you a pretty penny.
- Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), which last about six times longer and use 75 percent less electricity.
- Put outdoor lights on a timer to ensure they’re on only during the dark hours.
For more expert fall and winter energy-saving tips, please contact us in the Port Charlotte area at All American Heating & Cooling.
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