Winter chills threaten the comfort of countless homeowners in January and February, causing many of them to run their heating systems overtime in an effort to combat frigid temperatures. This can lead to excessive energy costs, so you could be paying a hefty price for the ability to stay warm. There are steps you can take to reduce your electricity expenditures during this frosty time of year. You can survive winter, so staying nice and cozy doesn’t have to mean a depleted bank account.
Audit Your Home for Energy Inefficiencies
Before tackling any problem in earnest, it’s useful to get an idea of its scope and nature. By obtaining an energy audit from a professional, you’ll be able to apprise yourself of exactly what areas of your house contribute to wasted energy. Knowledgeable energy auditors have access to specialized tools, like thermographic scanners, that you may lack, which enables them to give you detailed info that you otherwise would have no idea about. Use the results of your energy audit to implement whatever adjustments are necessary to keep your utility bills low.
Maintain Your Heating Equipment
A failure to obtain regular service for your furnace or boiler can lead to inefficiencies particularly with older models. Clogged filters and torn air ducts are just a couple of the issues that could impede the proper functioning of your machinery. You can check and replace your filter yourself every month or so, but it’s still recommended that you obtain a furnace tune-up annually to keep your unit working right. You can even get government assistance to replace an old boiler.
Survive Winter: Stop Escaping Air
Small holes in your walls or drafts around apertures can let air escape from your residence, which is a waste since you spend good money heating it up. With low-cost caulk and foam sealant, it’s possible to close up these gaps without too much effort. If you have a fireplace, close the chimney flue and block the airflow further with a chimney balloon.
Taping plastic film over your windows is a surprisingly effective tactic that takes just a few minutes per window. This reduces the amount of heat that’s transmitted through the glass. The right window treatments can also cut down on the heat that escapes via this avenue. Another option is to replace your windows with new, energy-efficient ones, but this will set you back hundreds of dollars per window.
Here is some more advice on some simple home maintenance jobs?
Want to know the true costs of home ownership?
Deploy Advanced Thermostat Technology
In the old days, some people attempted to conserve energy by fiddling around manually with their thermostat controls. These days, you can let advanced electronic devices, like the Nest, do this work for you.
After you program it with your schedule, it will automatically regulate your HVAC machinery to keep your building habitable without wasting electricity. During the night or when nobody is at home, the system will lower the temperature because there’s little sense in heating your house at these times.
Attend to Your Water Heating Systems
Some water heaters are already designed to be energy efficient, but if yours doesn’t fall into this category, then you can place an insulating blanket around it. You can tell if you need one by touching your heater while it’s running. If it feels hot, then it could benefit from this type of insulation.
Your hot water pipes can also cause heat to dissipate. Wrap them in fiberglass insulation or pipe sleeves. These materials can be found at any home improvement retailer.
Plummeting outdoor temperatures don’t have to mean either discomfort or exorbitant energy charges. Take a few simple measures to enhance the overall heating efficiency of your home, and remain toasty this winter without spending a fortune. We hope these tips will help you survive winter, wherever you may live.
Emma Bailey is a writer in the greater Chicago area who specializes in covering new technology and home automation. She enjoys reading novels by humorists, cooking at home and watching indie movies.