Winter is nearly here, and you may not be looking forward to the biting chill and icy winds of the season. Your home should be a warm, cozy respite from the freezing temperatures of winter. If you are tired of seeing your heating bills fly through the roof every year, use these tips to save money without sacrificing your comfort.
Stop Heat Loss Through Windows
In most homes, windows are responsible for up to 30 percent of the heat that is gained or lost. In the winter, that has important implications as you certainly do not want to be paying to heat the outdoors. Although opting for energy-efficient windows is your best option, you can still stop heat loss without spending much money. Opt for thick, room-darkening blinds and shades that will trap warm air in your home overnight. You can also insulate your windows with plastic sheeting.
Add More Insulation
Check with a professional to find out if your home could benefit from more insulation. The attic is usually an easy fix, as is the basement where some insulation on concrete walls can keep warm air from seeping out.
Invest in a Programmable Thermostat
While smart thermostats are all the rage these days—and for good reason—you may not yet have the money to invest in one. A simple programmable thermostat is an affordable alternative. You can slash your heating bills by 10 percent if you lower your home’s temperature by 7 to 10 degrees for a third of each day.
Use Ceiling Fans
Although you may think of fans as being for hot summer months, do not be quick to discount them in the winter. Ceiling fans are particularly useful at pushing warm air that hovers near the ceiling down to where you are. Just be sure to reverse the direction of the blades so that they turn clockwise.
Get Your Fireplace Ready for Winter
When your fireplace is not in use, it can be a significant source of heat loss. Follow these steps to save money.
- Close the fireplace damper when you are not using it
- Install a heat-air exchange system to warm your house better when a fire is lit
- Caulk around your hearth
- Seal the chimney flue if you never plan to build a fire
Replace Furnace Filters Regularly
Most filters need to be changed every 30 to 90 days. You could be wasting valuable energy if you force your furnace to work extra hard to push hot air through a clogged filter.
Opt for a New Heating Unit
Annual maintenance on your furnace or HVAC unit can keep it in great shape and improve its efficiency. However, all heating units have a lifespan, and for most, it is no more than 20 years. You will know that it is time to purchase a new energy-efficient unit if you notice the following symptoms.
- Your furnace makes loud rattling or popping noises.
- Your rooms are heated unevenly.
- You have had two or more furnace repairs in the past year.
- Your furnace turns on more frequently than it should.
Bottom line: Heating a home can be expensive. However, with a smoothly running furnace or HVAC unit and a few simple tricks to keep costly heat inside your home, you can trim your costs while creating a cozy retreat from the winter winds and snowstorms. To schedule an appointment with Service Specialties, call (703) 968-0606.