According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 56% of the energy your home uses comes from heating systems. Imagine what an impact it would make on your utility bill and the environment if you could reduce the amount of energy you consume.
You don’t have to resort to solar panels or resign yourself to freezing winter nights to make a difference. Consult the following suggestions to discover a plethora of small ways you can reduce the energy required to heat your house.
Conduct an Energy Assessment
Find out which areas of your home drive up your energy bill. Once you’ve identified the problem areas, you’ll know whether you need to keep heat insulated or purchase updated equipment.
Cover Your Floors
Heat escapes through bare floors, whereas carpet retains the heat, making your home feel warmer for longer.
Increase Temperature Slowly
Don’t bump up your temperature dramatically all at once, or you’ll activate your furnace’s heat strip — a huge energy waster.
Use Indoor Time Effectively
When you’re home, keep your thermostat around 68 degrees. When you leave, lower it slightly, but don’t turn it off.
You can also lower the temperature of your home 10-15 degrees while you sleep. No one will notice the difference in the middle of the night, but you’ll see results in your bill and feel good about helping the environment.
Don’t Block Air Vents
Additionally, avoid storing any large items near your air compressor so you don’t affect its efficiency. When your machinery works at maximum efficiency, you’ll reduce your energy bill.
Clean Your Filters Regularly
When you clean your filters every month, you’ll allow the airflow to heat all areas of your home evenly. Clean filters work more effectively, so you don’t have to raise the temperature and subsequently pay the difference.
Let Sunlight Boost Your Indoor Temperature
If you have east- or west-facing windows, open the blinds and the screen when the sunshine hits that part of your house. Open the drapes to let the hot air in and close them when shade covers the window.
Lower Your Water Heater Temperature
A rough estimate indicates that lowering your water heater by 20 degrees could save you 40 cents every time you wash a load of laundry. Long-shower lovers won’t notice the slight temperature difference, and you’ll conserve energy at the same time.
Wash Laundry in Cold Water
Lower temperatures don’t damage your fabrics as much as higher ones. Also, a colder temperature costs less to use when you do your wash. If you have the patience, wait to wash clothes until you have a full load to justify a tank full of water. Then air-dry your clothes outside to eliminate the cost of machine drying.
Fix Leaky Faucets and Pipes ASAP
Make sure every drop of hot water gets used by someone in your house so your water heater doesn’t work harder than it has to.
Program an Automatic Thermostat
Ask your HVAC professionals to determine if a programmable thermostat will work with your heating system. You won’t have to remind someone to turn off the heat while you’re away. Programmable heating systems automatically adjust without supervision to suit your family’s needs.
Compartmentalize Your Home into Heating Zones
If you never use the dining room in the winter or rarely entertain guests in the extra bedroom, consider getting different heating units for individual areas in your home. Then you can turn off the heat to the isolated rooms and save money and energy.
Prevent Heat Loss Through Your Fireplace
Close the damper unless you plan to burn a fire. An open damper is an open invitation for hot air to float up your chimney and abandon you in your moment of need. If your fireplace is purely decorative, seal the flue, and regularly check to make sure the seal still works.
Uninsulated windows and doors can create a whirlpool of air that sucks the heat right out of your home and flings it into your yard. Make sure the sweep underneath your door does its job, and ask your contractor to re-caulk any trouble spots as soon as possible. If your windows do allow airflow, cover them with clear plastic film and seal them with tape.
Make sure your attic and basement also have sufficient insulation. Heat rises, so you could pay to heat they sky above your roof rather than the interior of your home if you don’t insulate your attic.
Treat Your Heater to Regular Checkups
When you service your heater, your professional HVAC team will check for air leaks and trouble spots. You can avoid paying for a damaged heater or a system that works less than full capacity. Replace parts when necessary and ask for updates on energy-saving technology.
Choose Energy-Efficient Brands the Next Time You Replace Your Heater
When you choose a new model, educate yourself about its environmental impact. Ask your HVAC professionals for a fact sheet about their heaters and furnaces.
Each individual action you make will help you keep your home warm and safe this winter. You’ll feel better about your savings — and confident that you’ve helped the environment as well — when you follow these steps.