With the cool fall season upon us and the cold winter winds almost here, now is the time to make sure you’re heating your home as efficiently as possible. After all, you want your heat to stay where it belongs—in the house.
Following a few simple tips can help you save money on your heating bill this winter. Most of these ideas are easy to do and shouldn’t require too much of your time, and some of them are just plain common sense.
For example, if you turn your thermostat down by 10% to 15% each day, you can save as much as 10% per year on your heating bill. Having a programmable thermostat makes this easy to do. This type of thermostat is easy to install, and you can preset the device to certain temperatures for the different times of day and night. Once you program it, you never have to worry about turning down the heat in the evening or turning it up when wake up in the morning.
Another good idea is to check your water pipes in your home. In most homes, they are uninsulated, which causes them to lose heat and makes your water heater work harder. If your pipes feel warm or sweat, consider wrapping them with pre-slit foam pipe insulation. Similarly, insulating your water heater (the storage tank style) with a water heater blanket can help save energy. Be sure, however, if you have a gas water heater that you do not cover the burner access.
Do a draft check in your home. Purchase a smoke pencil in a hardware store, or a cheaper option is to use a stick of incense; light it and check your windows, outside doorways, outlets on outdoor walls and fireplace dampers on a windy day. How far the smoke drifts away from the source will reveal to you how drafty the area is. Fix any particularly drafty areas by caulking the outside of the house. You can also put door sweeps on leaking doors and can purchase draft guards to further block any drafts getting through to the inside. If you find that you have drafts coming in through your outlets, simply purchase safety caps for them.
You may also want to experiment with the temperature your hot water heater is set to. Most are at 140 degrees. If you have only a few people in your household, you may be able to lower the setting to somewhere between 120 to 140 degrees, while still having an adequate supply of hot water. Try a few different settings and see what works for your family.
An obvious tip, but one that still bears repeating, is to have your furnace serviced regularly by a heating repair technician. Proper service will ensure that your furnace functions efficiently; it may also help to catch small problems before they become large, expensive problems for your heating contractor. Be sure to replace your filter regularly during the winter months and keep the area surrounding your furnace free from any obstructions or debris.
Following these simple tips will help your furnace to operate at peak efficiency this winter, no matter how hard the winter winds blow!