It’s finally fall as the days become shorter the temperature drops. You know that your energy bills are on the rise. Every year, Colorado homeowners feel the pinch in their pocketbooks from these rising energy costs. Space heating accounts for around 45 percent of the average American family’s energy bills. To save money and ensure your home is running efficiently, try these seven sure-fire tips to cut your heating costs.
1. Weatherize Your Home
Coloradans know that high winds are a part of life, especially in areas east of the Rocky Mountains. Strong wind storms are most common from the late fall through spring. This makes keeping cold air out and warm air in a significant dilemma.
Weatherizing your home can help. The U.S. Department of Energy’s Weatherization Assistance Program uses these and other techniques to help low-income families reduce their heating bills by up to 32 percent.
Applying caulk to door casing and windowpanes
Install weatherstripping to the door jamb
Using rubber or vinyl door sweeps to stop drafts
Caulking outside edges of windows and doors of the living areas and basements
Sealing any openings such as water spigots, hoses, dryer vents and gas and water pipes
Sealing any cracks on the outside of the home
Ensuring that attic openings are tightly closed
Installing storm doors and windows —Use of storm doors can decrease heat loss by around 50 percent.
2. Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat
Programmable thermostats allow you to quickly lower the temperature in your home at times that you are away from home or asleep.
These gems also allow you to control the temperature in specific zones or areas of the home. Data shows that setting the thermostat back 10 to 15 degrees for eight hours a day saves the average family around 10 percent each year on heating bills. Often, appropriate use of a programmable thermostat allows the homeowner to save money without sacrificing comfort.
3. Prevent Heat Loss From Your Fireplace
The fireplace is a favorite heat source of many Colorado families. However, fireplaces can be a source of heat loss, too. Until you are ready to use it, keep the dampers closed. Only open the dampers in the bottom of the firebox when in use. Check the seal on the flue and the dampers, and install a snug-fitting glass door for your fireplace.
Remember the Hearth
The hearth is also an area that can allow heat loss. Add caulking to this area if you detect any drafts. If you don’t intend to use your fireplace at all, consider plugging it and sealing the chimney flue.
4. Inspect Your Home’s Insulation
Insulation significantly degrades over time. Bat insulation only has a lifespan of around 15 years before it begins to break down. Also, insulation exposed to water, dirt or mold can become less effective. After some time blown insulation may settle, leading to air leaks.
Where to Look
Inspect the attic, walls, floors adjacent to unheated spaces, and insulation in the garage or basement. Remember to measure the depth or thickness of the existing insulation and note the type you have in each of these areas. Check insulation behind wall outlets, and around pipes and drains.
5. Properly Maintain Your Heating System
To make certain your equipment is running efficiently, schedule routine maintenance for your heating system by making a service appointment with an authorized or licensed professional. Replace filters monthly or as needed. A dirty filter can elevate energy costs and potentially damage equipment, which may lead to equipment failure.
Think About Cleaning and Size
Consider having your air ducts cleaned as debris can eventually result in clogs to the system. If consider purchasing a new system, improve the energy efficiency of your house first before getting the new furnace. This will allow you to buy a smaller unit, save money on the upgrade and decrease energy costs.
6. Adjust Your Ceiling Fans
Most ceiling fans have a switch that controls the direction in which the blades rotate. For fall and winter usage, change the direction to clockwise, and operate the fan at low speed.
How it Works
This pushes the warmer air back down into the living space. Only run the fan when the area is being heated. Otherwise, the fan cools the area further.
7. Conduct a Home Energy Audit
The best way to discover where your home is losing energy is by performing an energy audit. This is a general energy assessment of your entire home.
Conducted by a licensed expert, an energy audit begins by surveying your home’s energy usage. Diagnostic tests are performed to assess the performance and efficiency of your heating system as well as uncover problem areas. The US Department of Energy advocates for home energy audits, stating that once the issues identified are corrected, the energy efficiency of a home can be significantly improved. This saves you money over a long period of time.
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