Christmas lights, holiday movies, hot cocoa, time with family around the fire…it’s officially the coziest time of the year! The last thing you want is to lose those warm, cozy moments to a cold draft running through the house or worse, a broken down furnace. Hang on to the coziness, keep your house warm, and save some money on your energy bills by following these 8 tips.
1. Change Your Furnace Filter
Keep your furnace running at its best by replacing the furnace filter on a monthly basis throughout the winter. In addition to keeping your house warmer, this can potentially save you up to 5 percent on your heating bill and help keep dust down. If you’re looking for a more eco-friendly option, try using washable filters (and make sure to wash them each month during the winter). Cared for properly, they can last up to 5 years.
2. Check for Air Leaks
Check windows, doors, attic, crawl spaces, and even power outlets for air leaks. Start with a visual inspection, looking for obvious cracks or openings. Frost buildup around windows and doors is another sure sign you have a draft. Once you find your problem spots, address them as follows:
- Windows: Use caulking to seal small window leaks, or use one of those plastic film kits on your windows to block bigger drafts. For long-term energy savings, consider replacing older drafty windows with new, more efficient ones.
- Doors: For air leaks around doors, first check to make sure the hardware is working properly, and tighten or replace any loose screws or doorknobs. Then insulate leaks with caulk or weatherstripping.
- Attic or Crawl Space: Improperly insulated attics and crawl spaces are another area where you can lose a lot of heat. Add extra insulation to improve your home’s comfort level and save money on energy bills.
- Power outlets: If you have outlets in external walls, cold air can leak in through them. To mitigate leaks, insulate outlets with foam gaskets, use caulk or putty to seal cracks or gaps around the wall plates, and/or use child-safety plugs when the outlets are not in use.
3. Install a Programmable Thermostat
Did you know that every degree you lower your thermostat will save you 3 percent on your heating bill? While you may not want to turn down the heat while you’re home, lowering the temperature when you’re out of the house could save you big.
A programmable thermostat allows you to preset temperatures for different times of the day, and can be a big money-saver. Set it for a lower temperature when you’re sleeping or away, and a higher temperature at other times. Used this way, a programmable thermostat could save you as much as 10-20 percent on your heating bill and you’ll still enjoy a warm, comfortable home.
4. Keep Vents Clear of Obstructions
Indoor heating requires air flow to function well. Make sure furniture or other objects aren’t blocking the flow of heat from your vents. Ideally, allow at least a foot or two of clearance between furniture and vents or other heating elements for optimal air flow. In a forced-air system, a single blocked vent can potentially cause a pressure imbalance, disrupting the flow of heat through the entire home!
5. Close off Rooms You Aren’t Using
Closing off rooms that are not in regular use is a great way to save on energy costs and retain more heat in the areas you are using. Consider closing off guest rooms, parts of the home used mainly for entertaining, or other spare rooms you aren’t using right now.
Close air vents in these rooms and keep doors closed. Remove anything that could be harmed by low temperatures (plants, for instance), and keep an eye on the temperature in these rooms to make sure it doesn’t get so low that damage to pipes could occur. If it’s getting too cold in these rooms, open vents a little as needed.
6. Close the Fireplace Flue
Did you know that an open fireplace flue allows as much heat to escape as a wide-open 48-inch window? Keep more of that heat in by making sure to close the flue when your fireplace is not in use.
And while most modern fireplaces have added features to help reduce drafts, older models don’t. Even though a roaring fire can produce a good amount of heat and a whole lot of ambience, an inefficient fireplace can also allow as much as 20,000 cubic feet of heated air out through the chimney per hour! For greater energy efficiency, consider installing glass fireplace doors or an energy-efficient fireplace insert.
7. Don’t Forget About Your Water Heater
Keep your water heater maintained so you don’t wake up on a cold winter morning to no hot water! Water heaters, like furnaces, require regular maintenance and inspections for optimal performance and long life. In addition, consider using a water softener if you aren’t already. It will remove minerals that can build up in your water heater, reducing its efficiency and leading to breakdowns.
8. Schedule a Heating Tune-Up
Your heating and cooling systems should be checked and tuned up on a yearly basis to maintain optimal function. Regular tune-ups can prevent costly repairs and breakdowns, extend the life of your equipment, keep your system running efficiently, and help identify potential issues.
Schedule your furnace tune-up today to make sure your home stays warm and cozy this holiday season and throughout the rest of the winter! Contact Titan at 651-714-8931 to get on our schedule and have a Happy Holiday season!