Before your Savannah home’s utility bills get out of control this winter, take some time to review the following tips that will help you save on heating. From simple changes, such as air sealing and adjusted thermostat settings, to furnace maintenance and upgraded insulation, we have a series of suggestions to increase your home’s energy efficiency while simultaneously lowering your utility spending.
10 Steps to Save on Heating This Winter
- Routine furnace maintenance – Observing routine HVAC maintenance is one of the most important steps you can take toward increasing energy efficiency, lowering utility spending and reducing repair bills. Ideally, a heating system should be inspected and tuned up at least once a year. In addition to changing the filters, lubricating mechanical parts, cleaning and inspecting all connections and equipment, your HVAC technician will be able to detect small issues that have the potential to become larger ones if they aren’t addressed immediately.
- Re-design your ducts – Poor duct design will compromise the efficiency of your heating system. If you live in an older home, you may benefit from a re-design of your ductwork. Until recently, ducts were designed for cost efficiency, rather than energy efficiency. Your HVAC contractor can use Manual D to determine the best duct layout and sizing for your home. The investment will pay for itself, via energy savings, in a handful of years.
- Maintain your ductwork – Inadequate duct maintenance and airflow obstructions are a major source of energy waste. Have your ducts inspected for signs of leaks, poor insulation or debris. Getting your ducts in good shape will cut down on unnecessary energy spending.
- Install a programmable thermostat – Programmable thermostats allow you to control the temperature of your home every hour of the day, seven days a week. The Department of Energy recommends you keep your thermostat set no higher than 68 degrees in the winter time and, ideally, 10 degrees below your desired temperature when you’re sleeping or away from the home for maximum efficiency. High-end programmable thermostats can be operated from your mobile device(s) for enhanced temperature and energy-efficient control.
- Seal leaks – A large component of year-round energy efficiency is your home’s ability to mitigate heat transfer. In the winter months, this means keeping the warm conditioned air from escaping outside. Use caulk to seal any leaks around doors and window frames, along cracks or gaps in siding, and around exterior wall penetrations created by plumbing and electrical work. Make sure the weatherstripping around your doors and windows is in good shape.
- Upgrade insulation – As long as you’re focused on heat transfer, take a look at your insulation in the attics, crawl spaces and exterior walls. If you live in a home that’s more than five or 10 years old, there’s a good chance your insulation isn’t up to current energy efficiency standards. If you need to replace all of your insulation, start with the insulation in your attic to reap the most immediate benefits.
- Use your ceiling fans – In the summertime, ceiling fans are used to make a room feel cooler. However, during the winter months, reversing the fan direction can help you save on heating. By reversing the direction of your ceiling fans, you’ll keep the warm air circulating around the room, rather than settling into upper corner pockets, away from the thermostat sensor.
- Consider installing a humidifier – You may think of a humidifier as a means of relieving dry skin and scratchy throats during the cold season. However, balancing indoor humidity levels will also help make your interior space feel warmer by adding more moisture to the air, which allows you to lower your thermostat settings. The EPA recommends maintaining your home humidity levels between 25 and 40 percent.
- Take advantage of the sun – You use window coverings in the summer to help prevent solar heat gain. By reversing this process, you can benefit from solar heat gain during the winter months. Open your shades and drapes to allow the sunlight in, and enjoy the sun’s warmth while giving your heating system a break. You’ll benefit the most from leaving south-facing windows exposed during the day.
- Insulate your water heater – If your water heater is more than five years old, cover it with an insulation blanket. Also, make sure the pipes around the water heater are insulated as well.
Contact the HVAC experts at Byrd Heating and Air Conditioning, to learn more ways to save on heating in your Savannah area home this winter.