Friday, October 14, 2011

Fall Home Energy Savings Tips: Preparing for the Winter

Whether we like it or not, winter is coming. So get prepared today, and you can potentially save a lot on your winter energy bills - and help the environment at the same time.

Winter means one thing: cold air. But for many, winter also means larger electric bills. Yes, it is true. In some areas summer causes the highest energy use, but in many locations, winter is the season where your electric bills skyrocket to digits that can cause financial burden. In winter, the heating system consumes the biggest portion of our electricity budget. Fortunately, we have the whole fall to prepare for it. And to prepare for it means that we must have the right tools, and proper information on how to save energy during the coming season.

Here are some areas to examine:

Wood-burning fireplace with burning log.Image via WikipediaThe fireplace – Getting your fireplace ready for winter will certainly yield savings; and fall is the best time to clean and repair the fireplace. Make sure that the damper is tightly sealed when not using it. Even a small gap can let the cold air rush in and send the warm air out. If you are using an electric heating system, an opening in the fireplace means the heater has to work harder to keep the place warm. Let a professional contractor do the proper maintenance in securing your fireplace for the winter.

When you decide to use the fireplace, you can turn down your heater. This can save you as much as 8% on heating costs (or sometimes more, in an efficient home).

The furnace – The furnace will have to work extra hard if the filter is full of dirt. This will equate to energy waste since the furnace will consume more power for the service it brings. To avoid this, make sure that your filter is clean. The owner’s manual will tell you how to clean the filter. A clean filter will let you breathe clean air around your house. A clean filter can save you 5%  or more on heating costs.

The ducts – Small leaks in your ducts will certainly result to lost heat so make sure that this is regularly checked. Usually ducts are located in unheated places, which is another reason why heat is lost. You can help prevent this by insulating the ducts by wrapping them with R-6 or higher fiberglass. (Never use cloth-backed tapes.) You can also wrap them with UL-approved metallic or plastic tapes and mastic sealants.  Leaking ducts can add up to 30% more burden on your heating system so make sure they are sealed and secured.

Solar heat – You need not have solar panels on your roof to use the sun as the source of heat. All you have to do is use open your drapes during the day to warm your room without using electricity. Then close them at night to keep the warm air inside. Reduction of the use of your heating system during the day can let you cut as much as 10% on your electric consumption

Thermostat FLZ 541Image via WikipediaLeaks in seals – Leaks in the seals of your doors, windows, joints and sills will let the cold air in and the warm air out - not what you want. Make sure that these openings are sealed with either sealant or weatherstripping. It will help reduce the work of the heating system immensely.

The thermostat – A programmable thermostat or a centralized heating system will let you save on heating costs, as it will let you set your desired room temperature during a specific period of the day. This is very useful when you are leaving your home or even going to sleep at night. Just one centigrade lower on your heating system will let your save you as much as 5% on your heating costs.

As you can see, following these simple tips and making sure your home is prepared for the winter weather can help you save quite a bit on your electric bill this winter, and use less fuel in the process. Most of these are easy fixes, so why not take the time right now, and put some of these tips into action? 
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1 comment:

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