As winter weather begins to arrive in Chicago and the surrounding area, homeowners often see their energy bills rise. Now is an ideal time to take measures to cut your home’s energy usage and heating bill. Whether you use gas heating or another type of heating system, taking the following steps can help you save on heating more than you might expect.
Add a Programmable Thermostat
A programmable thermostat helps you save on heating by allowing you to set the temperature according to need throughout the day or week. For example, when you are asleep or are away at work or on vacation, there is little reason to have the temperature set as high as when you are awake at home. Just a difference of one or two degrees can have a big effect on your energy bill.
Weatherproof the Home
Add weather-stripping around doors and windows. Gaps around exterior vents and ductwork should be caulked to keep cold air outside where it belongs.
Avoid Blocking Heating Vents
Check your vents to make sure furniture and other items are not blocking them. It is important that the heated air be allowed to move unobstructed into the home.
Use Portable Heaters
If you need to make a room warmer for a short period, use a portable heater rather than turning up the heat for the entire house.
Insulate Your Water Heater Pipe
Insulate the hot water pipe leaving the water heater… especially the first 6 feet or so. This has a great savings compared to bare pipe.
Keep Heating Systems Maintained
Remember to have your heating system servicedbefore the beginning of the cool seasons, and keep it well maintained at all times. Even dirty filters can cut down on efficiency, so change them
Check Attic Leaks and Insulation
If you notice your system working hard without your home ever being comfortably warm or cool, you may have leaks in your attic. To turn your attic into a blanket for you home that helps keep the temperature consistent, the first step is finding and filling any holes or cracks in your attic. There are a couple of ways you can seal an attic. Find a Comfort24-7 contractor near you for more information or to schedule an appointment.
Insufficient attic insulation can contribute greatly to high energy bills in both winter and summer, but remember that insulation is nearly worthless if you haven’t sealed the cracks in your attic. Pay attention to the R-value. The greater this number, the better the insulation is at protecting the home from heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer. Attic insulation generally needs to have a higher R-value than wall insulation, and this will also vary by region. In Chicago and our neighboring service areas, winters can be bitterly cold. The recommended R-value for attic insulation here is naturally higher than that recommended for warmer regions. Proper installation affects insulation’s effectiveness, and so you should have it professionally installed if you are unsure how to do this yourself.
Add Energy-Efficient Windows
Single panes of glass are not very effective at keeping out winter’s chill. Newer, energy-efficient windows are available now that keep homes cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Consider updating your home’s windows.
If new windows are not within your budget this year, you can take other measures to conserve heat. At night, use thick insulating drapes. On sunny days, open the blinds or curtains to allow natural sunlight in to warm rooms.
Use Ceiling Fans
Everyone knows that ceiling fans help cool the home in the summer. Fewer people are aware that these fans can also help distribute warmth in winter. You only need to reverse the direction of the fan so that warm air from the ceiling is circulated downward.
Set the Temperature Lower
It is much cheaper to wear warmer clothing than to turn the thermostat up. Even lowering the temperature a degree or two makes a difference. You
r might be surprised how quickly your body can adjust to the slight decrease in the indoor temperature.
Add a Humidifier
Just as dehumidification can improve your home’s air quality in the summer, adding humidity to the air in winter can make your home feel more comfortable and help you save on heating. The latter is because humid air holds more heat. Therefore, adding humidity makes the air feel warmer while also preventing common issues such as static electricity.
In forced-air heating systems, you can experience significant energy loss if ducts are dirty or experience gaps and cracks. Cleaning and sealing the air ducts minimizes heat loss.
For more information about how to save on heating, please contact us at Comfort24-7.com.