It’s that time of year again—when the temperatures start to fall and the heating and energy bills start to rise! The changes that accompany the season can feel like a roller coaster depending on where you live. In the southwest, the cooler weather brings relief for your home’s cooling system. In the northern parts of the country, the cooler weather means snow, ice, and frigid temperatures. While these tips tend to lean toward our cold weather neighbors, many of these tips can be used year-round in any climate to help control energy costs.
Use a programmable thermostat. These are relatively easy to install and an efficient way to make sure you aren’t heating an empty home during the day. Use its functions to lower the temperature a few degrees at night or when away at work, and you’ll be amazed at how much you can save.
Make sure furnace/air filters are clean. Clean filters are crucial to your home’s systems operating efficiently. Filter maintenance can vary, so be sure to consider manufacturer recommendations as well as unique household situations, such as pets.
Don’t block the vents! Before cranking up the heat, do a quick walkthrough of the house and be sure you are not blocking the air vents with furniture. Moving the bed or couch out from in front of the vent can make a big difference in the comfort of the room.
The sun is on your side. While you do your best to shield your home from the sun during the hot summer months, it is your friend during the cold days of winter. Take advantage of the sun’s heat and open up your blinds and shades during the day.
Fill the gaps. Look to fill any gaps or cracks around doors and windows that may be allowing warm air to escape. New caulking and weather stripping can be a good first step. In some situations, old drafty windows should be replaced with more energy-efficient options.
Flip the fan. The ceiling fan doesn’t have to be a warm weather only accessory. Flip the switch located on your fan to reverse the direction it rotates. We all know warm air rises, so use the fan to push that warm air back down into the room.
Before firing up the furnace, it is also advised that you inspect your system to make sure everything is in working order. While you may have enjoyed the months of not having to heat your home, deferred maintenance can be a nightmare in the dead of winter!