Although we don’t have to suffer through subzero temperatures during Texas winters, it still gets relatively chilly, which means the AC goes off and the heat goes on. Some homeowners dread the season because it means higher energy bills – but it doesn’t have to! If you want to lower utility expenses and get the most out of your heat, follow these tips below.
The National Resource Defense Council estimates that about one-third of a home’s heat loss occurs through old or drafty window and doors. That means that you’re paying for heat that’s literally going out the window! Check around door and window frames, pipes, foundation seals, and mail slots to detect air leaks. To help keep all the warmth inside, seal up drafts with caulking or weatherstripping, which are available at any hardware store. Even heavy curtains or fabric door draft blockers can make a huge difference. If you really want to stop drafts in their tracks, replacing old windows with higher performance ones can save you hundreds on your energy bills each year.
Take Care of HVAC Maintenance
An inefficient heating and cooling system can lead to a lot of wasted energy because your system will work harder than it should to warm your home. To maximize efficiency, clean and/or replace filters, properly seal air ducts, and remove any excess dirt or soot. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) found that homes with central heating can lose about 20% of the air that moves through the duct system, so these renovations can truly make a difference. An annual tune-up with an HVAC specialist will take care of all this and more. It’s also beneficial to make sure air vents aren’t blocked or obstructed by furniture so the heat can effectively reach the whole room.
Use Your Thermostat to its Greatest Potential
Your thermostat is perhaps one of the greatest tools at your disposal for saving energy. According to the DOE, programmable thermostats can save you tons of money on your annual heating and cooling costs. The DOE reports that by turning your thermostat back 10 to 15 degrees for 8 hours each day (like when you’re asleep or at work), you can save 5 to 15% on your heating bill. Nowadays, homeowners can even purchase “smart thermostats” that can be controlled from a mobile device, allowing you to adjust the temperature if you forgot to do it before you left for work, or to turn the heat back up on your commute home so you can return to a toasty house.
Conserving energy in winter doesn’t mean living in a chillier home – in fact, it’s just the opposite. By draft-proofing your home and better utilizing your HVAC system, you’ll not only save money, but you’ll stay warmer.