During the winter, you’ll likely notice an increase in your electric bill from running your heating system, especially as Sacramento moves away from natural gas and towards electric furnaces. With electric bills rising, many Sacramento residents wonder how they can keep their California homes warm and save electricity.
If you want to reduce your average electric bill in winter, consider implementing the following energy conservation tips to keep your home warm in the winter.
1. Upgrade to a Programmable or Smart Thermostat
One quick and easy way to save money in winter is by upgrading your thermostat. You don’t have to keep the thermostat at 68 degrees around the clock. These thermostats can be programmed to lower the temperature in your home while you are away.
The less your furnace has to work, the less electricity you have to pay for. Choose lower temperature settings while you are away or asleep to save money. The thermostat can then turn up the heat when you are about to wake up or come home from work.
By lowering the thermostat while away or asleep, you can save between ten and 20 percent of your furnace’s electric bill. If you decide to install the thermostat yourself, make sure to follow the given instructions. If you need help, or if you are unsure if your new thermostat is compatible with your furnace, call our Sacramento heating experts.
2. Keep Doors and Windows Closed and Sealed
Keeping doors and windows closed may seem like an obvious winter energy-saving tip, but you’d be surprised how many folks don’t weatherproof their doors and windows.
As hot air rises, cold air sinks. Because hot air is rising, cold air is always looking for a way in under the hot air to fill the space. When there are cracks in your windows and doors, cold air seeps in and chills the house. The doors and windows that separate your conditioned air from outside or unconditioned spaces should have insulated weather strips to prevent air movement.
Over time, weather stripping on doors wear out or breaks, and must be replaced. Weatherstripping attaches to the bottom of your door and connects to a similar strip on your threshold to form a seal. You shouldn’t be able to feel much or any air movement under your door. Most modern front doors will have weather stripping installed, and it just needs to be replaced. Windows may also have weatherstripping that needs to be replaced.
For doors that do not have weatherstripping installed, you can also get a door sweep, which attaches to the bottom of your door on the outside. A door sweep is especially helpful for doors that lead to unconditioned spaces like your garage. Many doors that lead from the garage into the home don’t have weatherstripping installed. A door sweep helps make up for that and limits air movement under the door.
Additionally, our friends at LMS Garage Doors, who provide the best garage door services in Sacramento, recommend investing in an insulated garage door! This will keep your home warm during the winter.
3. Quick Window Seals
Another great way to lower the electric bill in winter is to install quick window seals on all your windows. Dead air is a powerful insulator, and you can make a pocket of air by adding a transparent plastic film to the inside of your windows.
Our friends over at Maid For Muddy Paws, Deep Cleaning Service Woodlands, TX, explain that this can be invisible if you don’t want the look of the quick seal. Maid For Muddy Paws owner Brittani suggests heating the plastic with a blow-dryer to cover up the look.
Place the film on the windows and patio doors selectively or only in unused rooms if you find it unsightly.
Measure your window before purchase; kits differ in size and function only with wood, aluminum, and vinyl-clad moulding. Payback is fast on this inexpensive technique since the heat lost through windows accounts for ten to 25 percent of your total heating bill.
If you can ratchet the windows, they’re going to let a lot of heat escape through the frames. Seal open spaces with putty-like rope caulk until shrink-wrapping. Press-in-place rope caulk ($5 per window) is mess-free and easy to use, and a cinch to remove in the spring to make opening windows easier.
Window seals are a great way to add extra insulation to your windows and are useful to all homeowners in winter. Window seals are especially useful on windows with poor weatherstripping, poor insulation, or windows that aren’t double-paned glass.
4. Utilize the Sun & Curtains
Don’t close your blinds and curtains during the day—let the sunlight in! The more sunbeams shine into your house, heating the air, the more free heat your home receives. Don’t block the sun or reflect it out the window with curtains, blinds, or window shutters. Keep the blinds and curtains open during daylight hours.
Another option is to buy insulated curtains for your windows to conserve heat during the winter. These curtains are a little heft at $100 per window, but they do help keep your home warm in winter and cool in summer. Insulated windows take around seven years to pay for themselves while adding in extra comfort.
Insulated curtains are a great option if you aren’t quite ready to spring for new windows but you need a stop-gap measure.
5. Change Your HVAC Air Filter & Air Ducts
Many Sacramento homeowners forget to change out the air filters in their central forced air system. Keeping your furnace air filter clean and clear of dust can save up to five percent energy and keep dust from circulating through the house. New filters also help your furnace last longer and be less prone to breaking down. Most types of filters should be changed on a monthly basis.
Energystar.gov estimates that 20 to 30 percent of air that moves through duct systems is lost to leaks, holes, and poorly connected duct systems. Ensuring that your duct system is airtight and not losing air to attics or crawlspaces can result in significantly improved furnace performance.
6. Lower Your Thermostat
Californians don’t like to hear this winter and fall energy-saving tip, but turning down your thermostat from 72 to 68 degrees can reduce your energy bill by 12 percent. Putting on a sweater and lowering your thermostat just a bit can make a difference in your electric heating bill.
7. Insulate Your Attic & Crawl Space
One of the most effective ways to save money and electricity during fall and winter is to install more insulation in your attic and crawl space. Insulating your attic and crawl space not only conserves heat energy in winter, but also helps you save energy during the summer months.
Home insulation is one of the most effective ways to save money on your average electricity bill. Compared to our other home energy-saving tips, installing insulation is the most expensive tip to implement, but it is also one of the most effective as well.
Contact Gilmore Heating and Air if you are interested in residential home insulation installations in Sacramento. We can run your home through a partial or full home energy audit to find all the ways you can maximize your energy use. Additionally, our HVAC technicians can perform furnace maintenance to improve its performance. Our experts can also check your air duct system and ensure it isn’t leaking air.