Saving Energy Costs in The Winter
Now that we’re in the heart of winter, do you feel your energy bills are still too high or your heating system is not warming the house properly? Many homeowners throughout the greater Houston area feel the same way but are unsure of how to lower their energy usage. Space and water heating can account for 60% of an average home’s energy usage, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration. However, with a few tricks and changes in habits, you can reduce your energy bills. Some of our tips below are free and easy to implement and will increase your savings throughout the winter months!
Cover Drafty Windows – Cover drafty windows by either shutting your curtains, especially if you have older windows. However, if the sun is out, open your curtains and let the warm light naturally heat up your home.
Adjust the Thermostat – Start by lowering your thermostat. According to consumerenergycenter.org, you can save up to 5% on heating costs for each degree you lower on your thermostat. We recommend keeping your thermostat at 68 degrees in the morning and evening while you are home, and 62 degrees while you are away or during the night while you sleep. In total, you could save between 5%-20% on heating costs.
Find and Seal Leaks – First, locate air leaks throughout your home by checking common problem areas such as windows, doors, and around electrical conduits that go through walls, ceilings, and floors. If you find any spots, make sure to caulk small gaps and visit your local hardware store for the right materials to seal larger gaps.
Lower Water Heating Costs – You can save on the energy it takes to heat your water by setting your water heater temperature to the ‘normal’ setting. This can save between 7-11% on your water heating costs. Another easy way to reduce water heating costs is to take shorter showers.
Reduce Heat Loss from the Fireplace – When your fireplace is not in use, make sure the seal on the fireplace damper shut properly and is snug and secure. If you find any cold spots around your fireplace, you can seal them up by applying a heat-resistant caulk around the hearth.
Run Ceiling Fans in Reverse – Believe it or not, running your ceiling fans in the winter can save up to 10% on heating costs. Most ceiling fans have a ‘clockwise’ and counterclockwise’ settings. The slightly angled blades are designed to push air up or down depending on whether you want to cool down or warm up a room. Clockwise mode is intended for winter use and draws cooler air upwards, pushing warm air back down. Since thermostats are usually located in the space between the floor and ceiling, keeping low air where it’s needed means you can turn the temperature down a few degrees.
If you think your heating system may not be operating properly, give us a call to schedule a furnace checkup or sign up for a maintenance program. For a reasonable price, you might be surprised to find your system was leaking heat into the attic, or at a minimum, you will have the peace of mind knowing that the safety mechanisms of the system are working properly. Ultimately, if there is a problem, you can get it fixed and reduce your energy bills!