Recent surveys show heating and air conditioning accounts for more than half of energy use in US homes. With that being said, the best way to slash your electricity cost is to make your house energy-efficient, meaning it uses as little energy as possible while keeping as much heat as possible.
To help you save on your electricity bill, leading HVAC and insulation company Sharpline Mechanical shares a list of simple hacks to help reduce your heating cost.
Replace your furnace filters.
Dust and other debris can force your heating system to work harder, spiking up your energy costs. Hence, you need to replace your furnace filters regularly.
- 1-2 inch filters – one to three months
- 3-4 inch filters – six to nine months
- 5-6 inch filters – nine to 12 months
Turn down your water heater.
While the most common default setting for water heaters is 140 degrees Fahrenheit, experts suggest that the “Goldilocks” temperature is 120 degrees, which prevents scalding and reduces your water heating cost by up to 11%. However, don’t set it below 120 because it exposes you to the risk of bacteria in stagnant water from the tank.
Turn down the thermostat.
You can be comfortable even if you set your thermostat at 68 degrees Fahrenheit instead of the usual default setting of 70-71 degrees if you bundle up. The more clothing you wear in the winter, the less you need to amp up your furnace just to enjoy a comfortable temperature. Remember, setting up your thermostat 2-3 degrees lower than usual is enough to slash your energy costs by 5% on average.
Close unused vents and rooms.
If you have unused guest rooms, art/music rooms, etc., close their doors and vents coming from the furnace. The idea is to concentrate the heat on occupied parts of your home.
Nonetheless, don’t let unused rooms get too cold, especially if water pipes are located in their walls. A good rule of thumb is to maintain temperatures at 40 degrees or higher, so your plumbing is protected from freezing and bursting, a problem that is expensive to repair.
Fix your drafty doors and windows.
Hairline cracks and crevices around your door and window frame allow cold air to creep into your home and the heat to escape. Fortunately, fixing them just involves an easy DIY task that uses caulking, which you can paint once completely dry.
For the exterior doors, you can install a door sweeper, also called a door snake, to their bottom to prevent drafts from entering your living quarters. Another bonus of this simple tool: Your home is protected from creepy crawlers and other pests.
And for your windows, you can prevent heat loss by wrapping the windows with film, installing storm windows, and/or getting a window draft stopper.
Turn your bathroom fan off.
When taking a hot shower during the winter, you may want to skip the exhaust fan switch so the hot air from the steam can migrate to other rooms, warming them in the process.
Turn on your ceiling fan.
Hot air rises because it’s less dense than cold air. That being said, you can use your ceiling fan to push the warm air back into the room.
Bake at home.
While baking at home during the sweltering summer months is not recommended, this is an excellent hack to warm your house during the winter. Plus, you’ll have a warm batch of muffins to keep you feeling festive despite the gloomy, snowy weather.
Check your attic insulation.
Without proper insulation, your home may lose up to 85% of heat through your attic. In fact, the US Department of Energy has released a study suggesting that boosting your attic insulation can lower your heating cost by 10-50% on average.
Seal the gaps around your ducts.
Ducts can be a source of heat loss, especially if they are placed in non-insulated areas like the basement, attic, or garage. For this reason, you need to seal them with foil tape or mastic sealant to prevent warm air from escaping and the cold air from creeping into your home.
Take advantage of your windows.
When the sun is up, open the drapes and blinds to allow sunlight to warm up your house. Then, close them when the sun sets to retain the heat collected during the day.
Get an Energy Audit.
Hire a professional who can conduct an energy audit and give recommendations to help make your home more energy-efficient. At Sharpline Mechanical, our licensed technicians can assess your properties and make recommendations based on their findings. In this way, you’ll enjoy the best thermal upgrades for your insulation.