As temperatures drop, many Sacramento homeowners will notice that their energy bills are increasing as they use their heating systems more.
Today on the blog, our Heating Experts share how to keep your home warm in the winter without running up your utility bills.
Energy costs tend to rise this time of year. Luckily, there are a few simple and easy ways to save on your utility bills. In the article below, our Placerville HVAC technicians share how to keep your home warm in the winter without running up your utility bills.
A programmable thermostat allows you to preset temperatures at various times of the day so you don’t need to keep your home at 68 degrees around the clock. Although one should not be used with heat pumps, a programmable thermostat is a real money-saver with both air-conditioning and heat. Choose a low end setting while you’re asleep or abroad and go for a higher setting at other times (see table below) to save between 10 and 20 percent of your bill. Some units can store up to four temperature settings per day—e.g. morning, day, night, night. All of them have a manual override switch.
Generally, you should mount a new thermostat yourself. Still obey the manufacturer’s directions, but you normally remove the old thermostat and unscrew the wire leads on the back of the terminals. Our Sacramento heating experts advice to reattach the wires to the new thermostat terminals, if necessary, after inserting the mounting screws into the wall. (If you have different heaters and A/C units that use the same thermostat, you can find four lines, two for each unit.)
Light a match and the rising hot air will pull surrounding cooler air into the matching flame. Heat the room, and the rising hot air will bring cold air out of the property. It’s a physical concept called “stack effect.” To defeat it, cold air will come into your home, like under a door to the outside.
Seal this gap with a “door snake,” a long thin sack of cloth, like a bean bag. Fill it with dried peas or rice, to make it strong enough to remain in place. You may use scrap fabrics to sew one. You can also maintain the heat where it is needed by making sure that some of the interior doors, such as those leading to the hallways or near the stairs, are kept closed. This shuts down natural air passageways so that they can’t function as chimneys, enabling warm air to escape through the home. Also, 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.
If you sense cold air drifting under a door leading out and find that using a door snake is uncomfortable (see item #6), mount a nylon door sweeper. Our Sacramento heating installation experts explain that this long thin broom, like a vinyl-and-pile attachment, is mounted along the bottom inner edge of the frame. Cut the sweep to match the hacksaw and lock it in place with four or five wood screws.
Dead air is a very powerful insulator, and you can make a pocket of it by adding transparent plastic film on the inside of your windows. Our friends over at Maid For Muddy Paws, Deep Cleaning Service Woodlands, TX, explains 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 10 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 is removed in the spring. But make sure to do a good job of window sealing and caulking before the next heating season rolls around.
Do you have drapes or curtains that block sunlight? Open for free solar heat during the day (make sure windows are clean). Then shut the curtains just before sunset. Also, consider insulating curtains (about $100 per window).
As a general rule, every square foot of the window you insulate at night saves about 1 gallon. Of oil or almost 1.5 cubic feet of gas per year which means the insulating curtains pay for themselves in about seven years to say nothing of additional comfort.
If you have a forced-air system, our Sacramento HVAC company recommends adjusting the furnace filter to save you some energy (up to 5%) and keep the dust down in the building. The machine will last longer and it will be less likely to break down. The most common 16 x 20-inch duct filter costs about 50 cents when the box is purchased. Change it monthly during the heating season. Measure the air filter before shopping; it varies in size from 12 x 12 inches to 30 x 30 inches. The alternative to switching out the replacement filter is to use washable filters (about $20 each). They will last five years with treatment.
You’re using more hot water in the winter. Lower the temperature of the water heater from 140 to 120 degrees. And take some showers, not some baths. According to the United States of America. Department of Electricity, the average bath absorbs up to 25 gallons of hot water, while the five-minute shower takes up much less—only about 10 gallons.
Equipping the shower heads with low-flow shower heads often greatly decreases water usage, both hot and cold.
Our Sacramento HVAC techs always suggest lowering your thermostat. Every degree you lower the thermostat on your heating system will reduce your fuel bill by 3%. Moving from 72 degrees to 68 degrees doesn’t matter much in terms of comfort, but you can save up to 12 percent on your heating bill. If you use a coil-type thermostat, you can get more accurate readings.
Staying on top of your HVAC system maintenance will ensure that your heating system is working efficiently. If you encounter any heating or cooling problems, contact our HVAC company in Placerville, CA. Our team of HVAC technicians will assess the problem and work with you to come up with a solution that fits your needs.
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