The leaves haven’t turned yet and it’s still warm outside, but rest assured winter is coming. Being prepared to face everything from a mild winter to weeks of arctic cold and snow is a challenge we face each year. While predicting the upcoming season can be daunting, saving money during the cold months is quite easy. These 6 energy-saving improvements can help anyone stand up to Old Man Winter at his worst.
1. Service the system
No matter what type of heating system you’ll be relying on this winter (furnace, wood stove, boiler, heat pump, etc.), it’s important to have your system cleaned and serviced. Dirt is the #1 cause of system failure when it comes to HVAC equipment.
2. Deal with your ducts
Do you have a forced-air heating system? If so, you’re depending on ductwork to deliver heated air to your living space. Leaks in your ductwork (primarily along the many joint lines where one fitting or section joins another) can diminish HVAC system efficiency by as much as 40%. Make sure any ductwork in cold spaces like an attic, basement or crawl space is insulated so that your heated air has protection from cold temperatures.
3. A mere setback
You can easily save energy in the winter by setting the thermostat to 68°F while you’re awake and setting it lower while you’re asleep or away from home. By turning your thermostat back 10° to 15° for 8 hours, you can save 5% to 15% a year on your heating bill — a savings of as much as 1% for each degree if the setback period is eight hours long. The percentage of savings from setback is greater for buildings in milder climates than for those in more severe climates.
4. Change Furnace Filters
Yes it’s easy to forget, but it’s important to replace or clean furnace filters once a month during the heating season. Dirty filters restrict airflow and increase energy demand. Here’s a worry-saving tip: set a reminder on your thermostat or mark a monthly check on your calendar.
5. Ceiling Fans
Most people only think of fans when they want to be cool, but many ceiling units come with a handy switch that reverses the direction of the blades. Counterclockwise rotation produces cooling breezes while switching to clockwise makes it warmer: air pooled near the ceiling is circulated back into the living space – cutting your heating costs as much as 10%!
6. Upgrade the entry
Check the weather-stripping on your entry doors. If you can see a sliver of daylight at any point around the door, or if you can feel a draft coming in around the edge, you need new weather-stripping. Bring a piece of the old weather-stripping to your hardware store or home center so you can get identical new material. Consider installing a good-quality storm door for an even better energy upgrade.
These small tips can add up to big energy and cost savings. Take a moment to winterize your home today.