Energy Saving Advice from Air Design of Spokane
The cost of heating your home during the winter can take a serious toll on your finances. But keeping your home warm is an absolute necessity. Fortunately, there are ways you can save on the cost of heating your home during the winter without having to deal with the cold.
- Window Coverings: One of the first things you will want to do is invest in some energy-saving window coverings. The right kinds of blinds, shades, draperies, and shutters have the ability to keep your home warmer throughout the winter by absorbing heat from the sun, and trapping it inside your home. Purchase window coverings that are dark in color, as these absorb heat. Window coverings that keep your home highly insulated are also good for keeping heat stored within your home. Place these as snugly against your windows as possible.
- Keep Things Insulated: There are all kinds of ways to keep your home warm and keep out the cold, and one of which is to invest in insulated windows by covering them in clear plastic sheeting. Anywhere there is a draft, find a way to seal it up. This can be done with all kinds of household materials, such as blankets, rags, or old clothing. When you are not using your fireplace, keep it sealed up tight. And while you’re at it, make sure all doors in your home are properly insulated as well. You can invest in foam weather stripping for your doors and your windows as well.
- Take Free Heat from the Sun: Throughout the winter, you will want to utilize as much of the sun’s energy as you can. After all, it’s the earth’s main source of heat and light, so you might as well take advantage of it as much as you can! Keep window coverings open in windows where the sun is beaming in, and close them as the sun is setting to trap the heat inside your home. Collect as much of that free heat as you possibly can, and hold on to it. Again, make sure your window coverings are tight, secure, and as close to the window as possible. The less spaces there are, the better your home will be insulated, keeping warm air in and cool air out. This is also a great way of reducing condensation.
- Use Your Ceiling Fan: This next part may seem counter-intuitive, but hear us out. During the winter, use your ceiling fan to your advantage. Good airflow will make your home more energy efficient whether it’s summer or winter. It all comes down to how you use your ceiling fan. Run your it counter-clockwise at a low speed. Doing so will gently draw the air in the room upward towards the ceiling, while forcing the warm air down and out towards the walls. With snug window coverings around your windows and a fan gently pushing warm air down, your home will remain warmer.
- Humidify: Adding moisture to the air will help it hold heat better. Consider investing in a humidifier, which you can use to amplify the heat in your home.
- Be Smart With Your Furnace: Another wise way to keep your home warmer during the winter is to keep your furnace running smoothly. This means making sure it is clean and unblocked. Dirty furnaces are less effective, as they require your furnace to work overtime to produce heat. Keep dirt, grime, and other debris from building up in the furnace vents, and change your air filters regularly. You may want to consider scheduling an HVAC professional to take a look at your furnace before the weather outside starts getting really cold. An HVAC professional will be able to spot air duct leaks, blockages in the intake, mechanical problems, electrical problems, and more. Pre-season tuning is also a good way of preventing problems from occurring during the winter, when the cost of reparations can be quite expensive.
- Be Selective: It’s a good idea to only heat the rooms you use the most. Rooms that are rarely used should rarely be heated, such as the guest room or basement. The best thing you can do is keep those rooms closed and their vents sealed. Also, make sure to adjust your thermostat at night. You can save around 10 percent on your heating bills per year if you remember to turn your thermostat down 10 to 15 degrees for about eight hours. Keeping your thermostat down can do wonders for your saving on energy costs. Turning off electronics and other small appliances that you aren’t using will also save you energy no matter what time of year it is.
- Use a Portable Heater: Only use a portable heater to heat your immediate surroundings. Portable heaters use far less energy than home furnaces, and with the right insulation, can keep whatever room you are in nice and toasty.
- Stay Bundled Up: Rather than cranking up the heat, put on some cozy winter clothing. Stay warm with a heavy sweater and warm socks. Dress in layers. You can also keep throw blankets on your couch, and a throw rug for greater insulation on your floor.
- Make Adjustments to Major Appliances: Water heating costs can add a lot to your energy bill. By switching out your water heater and instead using a gas or solar option, you can save a lot of money throughout the winter. Normal water heaters have to keep a full tank of water warm, which requires constant energy. However, tankless water heaters only heat water on demand. Upgrading to a better furnace can also save you a lot of money throughout the winter.
- Use LED Lighting: This is especially effective during the holidays. Using LED lights as decoration will greatly reduce energy costs throughout the winter, as these use at least 75 percent less energy than normal lights, and can last 25 times longer. With LED lights, you can keep your lights plugged in for hours at a time with minimal energy costs.
- Don’t Let Oven Heat Go To Waste: If dinner preparation requires using the oven, don’t just let all that hot air sit in a closed oven after your food is finished baking. Leave the oven open and let the heat flow throughout your kitchen and eventually the rooms near it. With the right insulation around your doors and windows, this heat will go a long way in raising the heat level in your home. But be careful! Don’t let small children or pets near an open oven!
- Wait Before Draining Your Bathtub Water: Would you rather have your water warming up your bathroom, or your pipes? The added humidity will also help along the same principles as your humidifier. Humidity will help trap heat in the air and keep your home warmer.
- Use Timers To Monitor Your Central Heating: It’s a good idea to have your heater turn on automatically a little before you wake up – about 30 minutes – at a somewhat lower temperature. When people wake up in the winter time, they often go straight to their heater and crank the heat up high. This can seriously jack up the price of your heating bills. However, keeping things well-timed and consistent is a much better option. Be sure that your heater isn’t just running on low heat all day either, as this will also lead to higher heating costs.
- Strategically Position Your Sofa: Keeping your sofa right next to the heater might feel great, but it is actually absorbing heat that would otherwise be heating the rest of your home. Instead, keep your sofa moved away from the radiator, and the warm air will circulate better. The same principle applies to other furniture as well: make your home’s decor better for air circulation all around.
- Be Smart With Your Fireplace: Unless your fireplace is in use, keep the damper closed at all times. Having an open fireplace damper is just like having an open window. Cold air is going to come in, and warm air is going to go out. If your fireplace is in use, lower your thermostat. If your fireplace is something you simply never use, it would be very wise to completely plug and seal the chimney flue. Make sure the seal on the fireplace flue damper is as tight and secure as it can be. You may also want to invest in some grates made of C-shaped metal tubes, which will help draw cool air from your home to the fireplace, warm it, and circulate it back into your home. Adding caulk around the hearth on your fireplace is also a wise idea.
There are all kinds of efficient ways to keep your home warm during the winter without having to jack up the cost of your heating bill, and most people don’t even know about them! Using these effective techniques, and using them in conjunction with one another, will keep your home warm, and save you plenty of money throughout those long, cold winter months.