The leaves are changing colors and the air is feeling crisp—it must be time to get your home ready for colder weather. The last troubles you want to worry about are high heating bills or problems with your furnace in the middle of winter. Fortunately, there are several simple things you can do to prepare. Check out these fall and winter energy-saving tips to lower your heating bill and keep everything in top shape.
Winter Energy-Saving Tips You Can Do Yourself
Saving on your heating bills this winter doesn’t have to cost you a lot of time and money up-front. There are several simple energy-saving tips to get you ready for colder weather. In fact, many of them can be done in just a few minutes or with only a few dollars.
#1. Lower Your Thermostat – Super Easy
Our first easy way to save energy and lower your heating bills this winter is to lower your thermostat. Experiment until you find the lowest comfortable temperature and use that as a baseline for when you are home. Aim for around 68 degrees Fahrenheit if possible. Keep in mind that since it is colder outside, you’ll probably be wearing sweaters anyway, but you can always add layers if needed.
During the day when you are at work for several hours, you can lower the temperature a few more degrees. You may also be able to do this at night while you sleep. You will most likely want to keep it around 64 to 65 degrees, then raise it back to 68 or higher when you get home or wake up.
The best way to do this is to get a programmable thermostat, or even better a smart thermostat. Whichever you choose, changing the temperature is simple, plus you can set timers that change the temperature on a schedule. With a smart thermostat you can download a smartphone app that will allow you to control your thermostat on the go, plus it can detect when you are away to automatically adjust the temperature so you don’t end up heating an empty home.
#2. Use the Sun – Super Easy
Adjusting your window blinds and curtains is another simple trick for using the right kind of energy to heat your home. Letting in a little sunshine will help warm up a room, as well as keep it bright and cheerful. In fact, roughly 76% of the sunlight that comes through your windows during colder months converts to heat. When the sun gets lower, close them again to insulate against the cold from outside and trap the heat inside.
#3. Reverse Ceiling Fans – Super Easy
Changing the direction of your ceiling fan will help circulate the warm air for even distribution and eliminate cold pockets in corners of the room. Plus, since hot air rises, the fan will push this warm air back down into the room, so your furnace doesn’t have to work as hard to maintain a warm temperature.
#4. Lower Your Water Temperature – Easy
Heating the water in your plumbing also uses energy and adds to your monthly heating bill. When pipes are colder in the winter, it requires much more energy to get the water warm. You can set the hot water temperature as low as 120 degrees Fahrenheit and still have enough heat to sanitize items in the dishwasher and washing machine.
For every 10 degrees that you lower the temperature on your water heater, you can save roughly 3-5% on the cost of heating the water in your home.
You can also wrap an insulating jacket or blanket around your water heater to help keep it from getting as cold. This is particularly helpful if your water heater is in a cold part of the house, such as the garage.
#5. Save on Lighting – Easy
Along with colder temperatures, winter means more holidays, which means more lights. Look for decorations that use LED lights to save energy on holiday displays. Set outdoor lights on a timer to make sure you don’t waste energy by forgetting to turn them off or letting them run all night.
#6. Cover Your Windows – Easy
If energy-efficient windows are out of your budget, don’t worry. They don’t usually make enough of a difference to justify the cost anyway. Fortunately, there are still things you can do to prevent cold from getting through. Cover your windows with sheets of plastic that can be sealed all the way around the frame. You can also hang insulated curtains to keep the cold air outside in the winter and inside in the summer.
#7. Close the Chimney Flue – Easy
A warm and toasty fire is soothing for the soul on a cold winter’s night, but if you leave the flue open when you’re done, you might as well open a window. Make sure the flue is always closed when the fireplace is not in use and that there are no air leaks.
#8. Eliminate Drafts – Easy to Moderate
Is it possible that you have heat escaping to the outdoors? Check doors and windows to see if there are gaps or broken seals that need to be fixed. Simple caulking will solve most cracks in window seals.
Your front door is often a culprit for sneaking warm air out and cold air in, so make sure you do not see light seeping in anywhere around the door. You can easily add adhesive weather strips around the edges and bottom to block these openings.
#9. Clean Vents & Replace Filters – Easy to Moderate
Check the heating vents around your home to make sure nothing is blocking them. If they are hidden behind furniture or your kids keep piling their laundry on top of them, they won’t be able to heat the room effectively.
Clean the vents and replace the air filters to maximize airflow and reduce strain on your heating system. Do not close vents in unused rooms, however. Although it seems logical, closing vents will actually cause your HVAC system to work harder to distribute heat throughout the house and can cause it to overheat and damage critical components.
#10. Check Roof and Exterior – Moderate to Difficult
Fall is a great time to make sure everything outdoors is in working order before the snow and freezing temperatures arrive. Make sure there are no repairs needed on your roof to prevent potential leaks. Check exterior plumbing, vents, and eaves to make sure there are no cracks or gaps that will allow heat to escape or cold air (or pests) to sneak in.
Important Winter Energy-Saving Tips
In addition to the quick and easy energy-saving tips that you can do yourself, there are some other important ways to cut back on heating costs. Although you may need help from a professional, the benefits and future savings outweigh the initial costs. Plus, Absolute Air provides a 100% Satisfaction Money-Back Guarantee, so you know they’ll do everything they can to deliver the best products and service.
The best way to make sure your home stays warm in the winter is with proper insulation. You wouldn’t build a snowman without wearing a coat and gloves, so don’t leave your house standing in a snowstorm without protection either. Insulation can be added to the attic and/or exterior walls to improve heat retention.
#2. Get a Furnace Tune-Up
When it comes to heating your home, the furnace is the MVP. For this reason, it is important to always maintain proper furnace care, which includes annual tune-ups. When all the parts of your furnace are clean and in top condition, your furnace will last longer, and run more safely and efficiently. Learn how to safely clean your furnace or contact a professional for a full cleaning and tune-up.
If you are concerned about your furnace’s performance, a tune-up is a great way to find out if any repairs need to be made. You will also want to schedule furnace repair if you notice that it is making strange noises, blowing cold air, or your utility bills are noticeably higher. Typically, your furnace will last for 15 to 20 years before it needs to be replaced. Proper maintenance can help it last as long as possible and perform at its best.
#3. Clean Your Ducts
The ductwork throughout your home is another important part of keeping your home properly heated. Dirt and dust particles can collect in ducting and in your HVAC filter. Cleaning your ducts can eliminate obstructions and allow air to flow freely. Your HVAC filter should be replaced about every one to three months to maintain optimal airflow and reduce allergens and dust in the air.
Let Absolute Air Keep You Warm This Winter
Contact Absolute Air for more fall and winter energy-saving tips or to schedule a furnace tune-up. If your furnace is 15 years old or older, ask us about planning for a furnace replacement and about our satisfaction guarantee. Make sure your home is cozy and warm this winter with these energy-saving tips from Absolute Air.