How To Optimize Your Energy Efficiency This Winter

Saving energy this winter doesn’t have to be time-consuming or expensive. In fact, there are several low-cost ways to optimize energy efficiency during the cold winter months. Here are a few:

1. Cover Your Home’s Windows

Drafty windows can reduce your home’s energy efficiency. If new windows aren’t in your budget this year, don’t worry. You can seal drafty windows by taping heavy plastic over them.

2. Reduce the Temperature on Your Hot Water Heater

Adjust your hot water heater to a warmer setting. A comfortable setting is 120 degrees. By taking this action, you can optimize your energy efficiency and prevent hot-water burns.

3. Use LED Holiday Lights

Decorating your home for the holidays can raise your electricity bills. When you decorate your home with lights, be sure to invest in LED lights. For the most savings, be sure to buy lights that are certified by ENERGY STAR.

4. Use Your Wood-Burning Fireplace

A wood-burning fireplace can provide heat for a fraction of the cost of raising your thermostat. Be sure to open the fireplace dampers and close the doors in the room.

5. Adjust Your Thermostat

It feels good to come home to a warm environment, but keeping your home warm all day can result in an expensive utility bill. When you’re not at home, reduce the temperature on your thermostat.

6. Seal Your Fireplace

Like windows, fireplaces can get drafty. This is especially true if your fireplace isn’t sealed properly. Inspect your fireplace for drafts. Seal or caulk any areas that cause heat to escape from your home.

7. Clean and Maintain Your Heating System

A dirty heating system can adversely affect your home’s energy efficiency. Optimize your heating system by replacing your filters as needed. To maintain your heating system, schedule an appointment with Gilmore Heating, Air, and Plumbingโฃ.

Our technicians at Gilmore Heating, Air, and Plumbingโฃ can help you optimize your energy efficiency. Services include professional furnace repair and furnace tune-ups. Call us to schedule an appointment for one of our services in the Placerville area.

How Often Should My Furnace be Replaced?

You want to replace your air filter every three months, or every two if you have pets. You want to get an oil change every so many miles, depending on the make and model of your car. But when it comes to your furnace, there’s really no specific timeline. You can estimate that you’re probably going to get about eighteen to twenty years of use out of a good furnace with regular maintenance, but there are a lot of factors that are going to affect that number. It’s not a set-in-stone rule. Some furnaces will remain energy-efficient for a few years beyond their use-by date, while others may have a shorter lifespan even with regular tuneups.

When Does A Furnace Need Replacing?

A furnace is more like an old car. It’s ultimately going to come down to what it’s costing you to keep it running. With proper upkeep, you might be able to keep your furnace going for decades to come, but at a certain point that’s going to wind up costing you more money than replacing it. The cost of repairs and the simple fact that newer models are made to be more energy efficient means that holding onto the same furnace that was here when you moved in might not be as thrifty a decision as it seems.

What Is Your AFUE?

The easiest way to figure out whether it’s time to retire your furnace is with the AFUE. This is Energy.gov’s method of measuring energy efficiency for gas based furnaces and boilers. Newer units will read the AFUE out to you. If you have an older furnace, you can retrofit it with new parts to make it more efficient and to give you an AFUE reading. Your AFUE is a percentage of how much fuel is being used to heat your home, and how much is being wasted. If you’re at eighty percent, then that’s twenty dollars down the drain for every hundred you spend on heating.

Time For A Checkup?

If you’re not sure, get ahold of some old utility bills and note how much you’ve been spending on heating, then get in touch with the specialists at Gilmore Heating, Air, & Plumbing. Whether your furnace needs to be replaced, or if all you need is a tune-up and maybe some new parts, we’ll be able to advise you on whether or not your trusty old heating system has reached retirement age just yet.