This winter, heating oil costs could rise by 33% and electric by 10%. This is due to both more extreme weather trends and a rise in fuel costs. That increase could mean less room for Christmas gifts and tougher New Years.
For those who are looking to lower their bills, this guide is for you. There are a number of things that you can do to start saving money. It’s all a matter of making your home a trap for hot air.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to reap the rewards of these winter energy saving tips. Make a list and check it twice. Let’s find out if your home is ready for Santa.
Switch to a Heat Pump
Heating and cooling account for over half of the average home’s electric bill. An energy-efficient heat pump is the superior method of heating. They can halve energy costs and produce hot air better than other methods.
In comparison, a fireplace, HVAC, or furnace all have much larger carbon footprints. Heat pumps also do not release any harmful smoke or byproducts.
You should invest in a set of winter drapes that will keep out the cold air. You can take this a step further and purchase plastic film if you don’t have double-paned windows. This insulating film can be purchased online or at any hardware store.
Wait before drawing your curtains and let the sun shine through. The first rays need time to heat that pocket of cold air first.
Lower the Thermostat
This is going to sound a little off to some, but bear with us. By lowering your thermostat a few degrees, you can save 10% or more each year. After the sun rises, set your thermostat down about 5-10 degrees.
If you’re going to be out for a long time, program your thermostat to turn on a half hour before arrival.
If you stay bundled in your home, you shouldn’t notice a big difference. Layer, wear thick socks, and drink warm beverages under the covers. Honestly, this is what a lot of people look forward to every year.
As long as you’re not shaking like a leaf or suffering from a runny nose, keep the house cool and you’ll save big.
Seal Any Leaks
The windows are often the most obvious places where heat leaks. Once you’ve covered those up, start looking at your doors. Your entryways should have weatherstripping to prevent leaks.
Gaps around plumbing, lights, and sockets are a little less obvious. These deceptively small cracks can constantly feed cold air inside. This is also where critters and insects get the idea for a new home.
Seal up these areas using caulking and insulation. Wrap your pipes with insulation at the exit base. Inspect the attic entryway, too.
We recommend laying insulation over the attic door and taping the door shut. Don’t forget to grab your holiday decorations out of there first.
If you have ceiling fans, you should still use them during the winter. Airflow is important for retaining heat. On a ceiling fan, you should have a switch that changes the direction of the rotation.
When the blades are turning clockwise, they will push warm air down from the ceiling. As heat rises, it stays up there, so a ceiling fan is a big heat-saver. Be sure to set the fan setting on low to avoid creating a draft.
We mentioned that turning your thermostat down a few degrees can result in big savings. Rather than playing tug-of-war with it all day, you should get a smarter thermostat. A standard programmable thermostat is okay, but if you leave the house a lot, it can become unreliable.
With a smart thermostat, you can control the temp with your phone. It will also learn behaviors and begin anticipating your needs. Smart thermostats wind up paying for themselves within the first year or two.
A humidifier is a good buy for both health and energy savings. Humidity levels directly influence temperature. The more moisture that is in the air, the better heat is retained.
These simple devices will lower your heating costs while improving air quality. Get one today and say goodbye to cracked lips and dry mouth in the morning.
When and how you decide to do your laundry can have an impact on energy costs. If you can get into a routine of doing your laundry during off-peak hours, it may pay off. Some utility companies reward you with discounted rates.
This is because during the winter season the grids are under immense stress. Usually, these off-peak hours occur after about 8 pm. Combine this strategy with using cold washing and less drying.
You can reduce the amount of heat needed to dry by leaving your clothes in the washer for a bit longer. There’s a sweet spot of 1-2 hours between drying and getting stuck with that musky smell.
Lower the Water Heater
The same idea of lowering your thermostat works with the water heater. The average person has their water heater set too high, anyway. Call up your gas or utility company for help with adjusting the temperature, if you need help.
We recommend turning it down ten degrees, testing the water, and seeing if it’s still comfortable.
More Winter Energy Saving Tips
There are many more winter energy saving tips if you’re an eager learner. Handling things like insulation, HVAC maintenance, and repairs isn’t for everyone. This is where Masters Heat and Cooling can step in and help lower your bills.
We provide maintenance and repair service, air quality, and energy audits. You will get a clear picture of your home’s heating efficiency. If you’re interested in planning for the winter or need repairs right away, contact us today.