Since heating and cooling account for almost half of all home energy usage, it makes sense to look for ways to reduce heating bills in winter to lower energy costs. But what accounts for the other half of energy usage? Here are some tips on how to lower not just heating costs but all electrical usage this winter.
Focus on the Building Envelope
Make sure your home isn’t leaking air. Professional heating and cooling companies work with Energy Star’s home performance program to help homeowners improve indoor comfort and air quality. A home energy audit identifies leaks around windows, doors, flooring, walls, electrical outlets and plumbing, finding how efficient your insulation is and showing where you need to add more.
- Weatherstrip and caulk around doors, windows, electrical outlets and pipes. Weatherstripping around windows can reduce drafts to make your living space more comfortable, saving between 5 and 15 percent on utility bills.
- If you have a fireplace, make sure the flue is closed.
Air leaks may cause moisture problems that can affect the health of you and your family while weakening structural materials.
Focus on Heating
Cleaning the furnace filter every two months can increase efficiency by 50 percent. A dirty filter is the main reason that HVAC systems break down. Annual preventive heating maintenance on furnaces or other heating equipment ensures units are in good working order and reduces the need for repairs.
Save on heating costs by turning back the thermostat. Save up to 5 percent on energy usage for each degree the thermostat is set back. Programmable thermostats allow you to set different temperatures for different times of day and different days of the week. If you’re away for several hours of the day, you can program the device to turn on the heat before you arrive home.
Focus on Windows
Windows account for 25 percent of heat loss in residential buildings. Make use of sunlight during colder months. In cold climates, orient low emissivity coatings to allow solar energy to enter the building. In warm climates, orient coatings to reflect the sun’s rays. Thermal curtains block cold air during cold days and nights and block hot air during the summer. Open curtains on sunny days in cold climates to benefit from solar heat.
Focus on Appliances
Energy Star rated appliances, including ceiling fans, dishwashers and entertainment components, are evaluated for their energy efficiency and can significantly lower energy usage.
- Reverse the direction on ceiling fans to blow hot air down into the living space.
- Unplug electronics when not in use. Electronics with stand-by or instant-on features like cell phone chargers, televisions, computers and computer peripherals draw energy even when turned off. Rather than having to unplug each component, use power strips that can be switched off instead.
- Plasma TVs use more than twice the energy of LCD televisions.
- Use CFL or LED bulbs for lighting. Although the initial cost is higher, LED bulbs last up to 25 years.
- Clean the dryer lint filter after each use. A clogged filter increases energy usage up to 30 percent.
It’s easy to reduce electrical usage without sacrificing indoor comfort. Saving electricity not only cuts utility bills and saves money. It also means that less energy is required to supply household needs, which helps the environment and reduces the carbon footprint. If you need an evaluation or heating service in the Beaumont, Texas, area, contact the professionals at Brettco Heating and Air Conditioning today.