We face the same struggle every winter: a choice between a comfortable home or an affordable energy bill. It can often feel like you have to choose between paying astronomical heating bills or wearing ski gear in the house. In this article you will learn of different ways to make your home energy efficient.
Heating houses in the winter can easily cost more than cooling them in the summer. It takes a lot less energy to keep a house at 70 degrees in 90 degree weather than it does in 20 degree weather, after all. Fortunately, there are ways to lower your heating bill without lowering the heat. Making your home more energy-efficient will reduce the amount of energy necessary to keep it warm, lowering your heating bill.
These are some of the best ways to make your home more energy-efficient. There are other methods out there, but these are the most common.
Use the Sun
If your house has windows facing south, open the curtains on those windows during the day. They’ll let in sunlight essentially all day, and that sunlight will naturally warm your house. Then close the curtains at night to trap the heat.Note that this only works with south-facing windows all day.
East-facing windows will only let in the morning sun, and west-facing windows will only let in the afternoon sun. These are still somewhat useful, but not nearly as much as southward-facing windows.
When it comes to insulation, windows are weak spots. It is simply easier for heat to escape through glass windows than insulated walls. Quilted curtains are, effectively, insulation for your windows.
Like most curtains, they can come in all sorts of patterns and colors, so you should have no trouble finding curtains you like. The quilted fabric will help to trap the heat in your home so it does not escape through the windows.
Find and seal drafts
Your house may have more drafts than you realize. Just because a home does not feel “drafty” does not mean that there are no drafts. There may be small openings around windows and doors that let air (and heat!) escape. Unfinished areas behind cupboards can leak heat, and anywhere in the building where plumbing enters and leaves should be sealed tight.
Even the chimney for the fireplace can be leaking heat if the cut-through in the roof has not been properly sealed, or if the seal is old and worn out. Sealing off these drafts can save you a lot of money.
Insulate your house
All homes are built with insulation, but many people do not realize that some maintenance must be done to keep the house insulated. Check the attic first. Hot air rises, and if the attic is poorly insulated you could be losing a lot of heat.
If the insulation looks thin or uneven, you will need to add more. This is something that you can do easily on your own. Checking the insulation in the walls is more challenging, and you will likely need professional help both to check it and to add new insulation. Fortunately, insulation problems in the attic are far more likely.
Switch the direction your ceiling fan rotates
Most fans are set to rotate counterclockwise. This pulls cool air up from the floor and blows it back down, redistributing it and making the room feel cooler. In the winter though, it is not as helpful. Instead, switch the fans so that they turn clockwise.
Hot air rises, which means when your heater is on, the warmest air in the house will gather at the ceiling. Switching the fans to turn clockwise will blow all that hot air back down and make the room feel warmer. In turn, you will not need to turn the heat up as high.
Do not use exhaust fans
Your house has exhaust fans over the stove and in the bathrooms. These are an often overlooked source of heat loss in the winter, as they pull air out of the house continuously while in use. Unfortunately, you probably cannot avoid using them altogether.
When you must use them, use them sparingly and shut them off as soon as they are no longer necessary. You might be surprised at how much that will save you.
Use space heaters
Instead of heating your entire home all at once, you might consider buying space heaters for the rooms you use the most. Portable space heaters can even be carried from room to room with you.
Space heaters will not use as much energy as a central heating system, because they are only heating up a small area. You can choose portable units, or permanently installed baseboard units. Either way, they will efficiently heat up a room without using too much energy. They will also warm the room much more quickly than a central heating system.
There are many different types of space heaters, but the most important factor in deciding which one to get is how much space they are rated for. Some portable models can only heat very small rooms and may not be sufficient for your needs.
Lower the temperature, wear more clothes
One of the easiest and cheapest ways to improve your home’s energy efficiency is simply to lower the thermostat. You do not need to shut off the heat altogether, but you also do not need the house to be so warm that you can wear shorts indoors in the winter.
Keeping your thermostat between 60 and 70 degrees can save up to 5 percent on your energy bill for each degree. Sixty-five degrees will still feel a lot warmer than the air outside.
Lower the thermostat and simply wear more warm clothing like sweatpants at home. You will save money and still be quite comfortable.
Keeping your home warm in winter does not have to be expensive, but it may take some effort to make the house more energy-efficient. If you have more questions about how to maximize your home’s energy efficiency, or would like some professional tips on how to do so, contact Presidential Heating and Air today.