We have all been there: no heat in the dead of winter; or no air conditioning in the boiling heat. This winter we’ve seen a few storms already and the season isn’t over yet. Between the ice, snow, and freezing rain, there are numerous reasons to run your heating system. In order to keep yourself comfortable, you may run your heating systems at the max to keep your home at a constant temperature; however, there are a few things you can do to save money on your energy bill. So we’ve compiled some tips on how to save money on your electric bill in the winter.
If you’ve ever read one of these blog posts or heard someone talk about saving money on electric bills, then you’ve probably heard the thermostat talk…and I hope you’ve taken action on their advice! Thermostats are installed for one purpose: keeping your rooms and home at a comfortable temperature. There are a bunch of different kinds of thermostats, but we recommend getting a smart thermostat that is programmable to keep a room at the desired temperature. Here are the things you should take note of when dealing with programmable thermostats:
- Keep the setting low or, more preferably, off when you are not in that room or not in the house at all. This can significantly cut down your electric bill and is one of the easiest and best things you can do to save money in the winter.
- Make sure your thermostat knows when you are home, sleeping, and running around the house. If you’re not home, you may want the thermostat turned off. If you’re asleep, you may be comfortable with the thermostat at a lower temperature like the mid-60s instead of the average upper 60s or even into the 70s. When you are sleeping, make sure the rest of the house is not being heated until an hour or so before you wake up to ensure that it is warm for you when you walk into the room. Most smart thermostats have time settings on when to change temperatures automatically.
- Check the warnings and alerts on your thermostat’s screen. Some thermostats will tell you when the filter should be changed, which can be quite helpful.
Changes Around the House
Walk around your home and do a quick “energy audit.” More than likely there’s at least a couple of things you could change that could save you money each winter! Here’s a quick list of things you should check for:
- Find where your vents, baseboards, or space heaters are and make sure there is nothing blocking the airflow. In some regions, baseboard heating systems are commonly found and most people forget about them until winter and find that there is junk sitting in front of them, preventing heat from spreading effectively around the room.
- Energy efficient appliances can save you hundreds each year on your electric bill. If you can afford to change out an appliance, do it. It’s highly recommended and will pay for itself over time. When replacing a washing machine, for example, you can save money from both your electricity and water bills.
- Energy efficient LED light bulbs are a cheaper alternative to lighting that is even being pushed by the government. LED light bulbs save energy, and give out the same amount of light as your standard bulb.
Seal the cracks. Your home is filled with windows and doors, isn’t it? Now, go stand next to a window. Now move towards the middle of the room. It’s probably significantly warmer in the middle of the room because your windows and doors aren’t properly sealed. Use some insulation products to seal up the cracks around your windows, doors, and even in your basement. They can save you big money.
It only makes sense that to save money on your electric bill in the winter you have to maintain your heating system. After all, it’s often the system that’s heating your home and raising your bill. Follow these tips to ensure your heating system isn’t wasting energy and potential savings:
- Replace/clean the filters. It sounds so trivial and pointless, but every little bit of efficiency can and will save you money in the end. If your filter is dirty and clogged, your system is simply not running at maximum efficiency. Make this a part of your “energy audit” when walking your home and looking for potential savings.
- Listen to your system to see if it is making any loud noises. If it sounds like it’s working really hard, it probably is. Many people have loud furnaces and boilers and blame it on the weather, but there could be something physically wrong with your heating system. If you hear any sounds, give us a call and we’ll come take a look at it for you.
- Check for leaks. Another part of your “energy audit” should be to check for any puddles or drips coming from your heating system. In the simplest terms possible: there should be no liquid at all under your system. If there is, it’s leaking and you should call a professional.
- Clean out the bottom of your furnace. If you or a contractor has not recently cleaned out your furnace, then there is likely some debris built up at the bottom. Carefully clean out the debris to ensure your system is running at its best.
- Check the vents to ensure that heat is indeed coming out of them. If it isn’t, then there is definitely something wrong with your heating system. Cold air could be a number of problems but is commonly due to a broken switch. When your temperature switch fails, it will blow whatever air is available without checking the temperature. Before giving us a call, however, check to make sure your thermostat is not set to “fan ON” or “fan ONLY”. The fan will cause the system to not even try to heat the air coming through but instead recirculate currently existing air in your home.
Hopefully, you can save a few extra dollars or even $100+ on your electric bills this winter by making a few adjustments.
If you are looking to purchase a new energy-efficient heating system, or if you need to repair your heating system, feel free to contact us for more information.