Preparing for the Winter:
Isn’t it funny how quickly the wintertime sneaks up on us? Many people love the temperate weather in the fall time. Then all of a sudden, it’s time to prepare for hibernation season! Unfortunately, winter also means higher utility bills. According to the Kotzebue Electric Association, average homeowners use more energy in the winter than in 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 in cold weather. To, prepare yourself for the cold, you’ll want to get all your boxes checked 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 or obstructing your vents. 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 naturally, direct more heat into the lower floors.
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 more than one window in the same room.
3) Fans (No cost-$100)
Do you know that awkward time of year when you’re cold one day and hot the next? There are a couple of months in the fall when you just can’t seem to get your wardrobe right. Also, you end up 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 when 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 your cold feet! Seriously though, a couple of large, fluffy rugs will make any home feel a couple of degrees warmer. 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 install it yourself.
8) Fireplace (Cost Varies)
Fall and winter are the seasons for lighting fires inside. 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 heating your home, 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 installing glass doors in your fireplace ($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 for a building leakage diagnostic test.
10) Air Balance ($250-$500)
Air balance is an important factor in preventing warm and cold spots. First, a professional must use a blower hood to test airflow at each vent. Then, they can advise you on re-balancing your system as needed. This is a service we provide in Santa Barbara, Ventura, and San Luis Obispo Counties!
11) Radiant Ceiling Panels ($500 Per Room Install)
There is an 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?
12) 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.
13) 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 make a big difference in your comfort levels and utility bills.
14) Add Zonal Temperature Control ($3,000-$15,000)
Altering your HVAC system for zonal control is the best way to get temperature accuracy. Many people opt to have zonally controlled systems because of temperature differences between levels. It’s more efficient than simply closing vents, which could overwork your HVAC system. You can also stand to save a lot of money by not heating your entire home if say, you spend the majority of your time in the living room.
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.