Preparing for the Winter:
Since September 22nd, Fall has officially arrived. Oh, how it has come so quickly. Many people love the temperate weather in the fall time. Still, with winter coming up, it’s time to prepare for hibernation season! Unfortunately, that also means higher utility bills. According to the Kotzebue Electric Association, average homeowners use more energy in the winter than any other season. That’s 200 kWh more than during the summer, which equates to about $30 dollars more per month. People spend most time indoors in the winter trying to stay comfortable.
There are ways you can prevent your bills from rising through the roof, luckily. So, you can be prepared, you’ll want to get all the boxes checked well in advance. The following suggestions on how to efficiently heat your home, are listed in ascending order, based on difficulty. From free fixes to affordable upgrades, learn how to keep your house warm in the fall and winter without breaking the bank!
Tips on How to Keep Your House Warm and Save Money:
1) Vents (No cost)
Make sure there is nothing blocking your vents accidentally. Misplaced furniture can impede airflow in the rooms you want to be heated. As a result, your HVAC will have to work overtime, costing you hard-earned cash. To evenly heat a multi-level home, another trick is to close vents on the top floor. Since heat rises, direct heat into the lower floors. It will disperse itself upwards throughout the home.
2) Windows (No cost)
If you like to keep your house cool at night, try opening the windows rather than using the AC. Get a cross-breeze going by opening several windows parallel to one another. Pay special attention to leaving doors inside the home open for optimal results.
3) Fans (No cost-$100)
Do you know that awkward time of year when you’re cold one minute and hot the next? There are a couple of months in the fall when you just can’t seem to keep the temperature right. Then, you end up continuously switching back and forth between heating and air conditioning. Very pricey! Instead of cranking the thermostat, use fans doing the day to keep you cool. Opposingly, if you’re cold, only use fans in empty rooms that are on the top floor. This is especially useful for circulating the warm air down towards the rest of the house. Investing in a couple of fans is no big deal compared to long-term savings.
4) Draperies (No cost-$100)
During the daytime, have the curtains remain open to allow solar heat to get in. Close the curtains around sunset to insulate the warm air inside. I recommend purchasing thick, blackout curtains if you don’t already have some. This is a cost-effective approach to keep your house warm and save money.
5) Change the Heating Filter ($50 Average Per Filter)
Help your HVAC system work efficiently at full capacity, by changing the filter. Regularly switching your heating filter will remove impeding particulate and prevent strain on the system.
6) Rugs ($100)
Does your home have tile or wood flooring? Is the basement unfinished? If you answered yes to any of these questions, rugs may be your solution to cold feet! Seriously though, a couple of large, fluffy rugs will make any home feel a couple degrees warmer overall. After all, most body heat leaves through your feet, hands, and head.
7) Weather Strip Doors ($10-$50 Per Door)
Ensure that all exterior doors have fitted weather stripping, in good condition. Effectively, weather stripping insulates the home and prevents exposure to drafts. You can buy a whole roll for only a couple of dollars and save even more if you can DIY.
8) Fireplaces (Cost Varies)
Fall and winter are seasons for lighting fires. Cozying up by your fireplace can be a cost-effective way to keep your house warm and save money. Of course, we recommend efficiently burning models. If you have the capability, chopping and storing your own wood is the most affordable method of doing so, and can even be free. According to Wood Heating Solutions, the average annual cost of heating a home with an affordable type of wood is about $640/yr. Compare that to thousands of dollars for propane, oil, or electricity. Always, remember to close the flue when the fireplace is not in use. You can also keep cold air out by closing or installing glass doors ($600).
9) Seal Exterior Gaps ($10-$300)
Exterior caulk costs about ten dollars per container and is very simple to apply. Start by re-caulking doors, windows, and any visible gaps with clear caulk. The real problem is if you cannot find the source of the air leak. You may need a trained technician to perform an envelope/house leakage diagnostic. When a complicated feature of the home is leaking air, such as the roof, repairs may be a bit more challenging. BarrierEnergy is here to provide residences on the Southern coast of California with a free estimate.
10) Radiant Ceiling Panels ($500 Per Room Install)
There is alternative way to heat rooms without ventilation or ductwork. Radiant panels are highly efficient and can save 25% on energy costs, says The Balance Small Business. Nonetheless, initial costs may vary. The other advantage to this type of heating by allowing each ‘zone’ within your home to be heated as needed. So, if you spend all day in the living room, why pay for heating the whole house?
11) Heated Flooring ($600 Per Room)
Installing heated flooring is another efficient heating method that can save you electricity. Heed caution, they may be more effective in certain circumstances and are usually used in conjunction with other heating systems. Start with rooms in the basement or rooms that have tile flooring. Learn more about the different types on Energy.gov.
12) Insulate the Attic ($1,500-$2,500)
Remember when I said your bills can rise through the roof? I meant that literally! Warm air can escape directly through an uninsulated attic. Considering hot air rises, attic insulation can be just as effective as in common areas.
Have a Warm Winter! 🙂
Now you have a whole toolkit of knowledge on how to keep your house warm and save money. It’s time to put these tips into practice. We hope you enjoyed this article and please consider subscribing to our blog for more news and helpful hints.