If you’re like most homeowners, you open your heating bill for the first time every winter and a feel a mild shock at how expensive it is.
Your mental calculator goes to work, and you feel a grudging resignation that this—or more—is the new normal for the next several months. It’s time to keep the thermostat on the warmer side of icy again.
But what if there were some quick and easy solutions that could reduce your energy costs?
You might be surprised to learn that a considerable portion of your heating costs is actually wasted energy, so let’s take a quick look at some ways you can reduce those high heating bills this winter.
If you’ve got a forced air system, then you need to be aware that, on average, 25-40% of your conditioned air is being lost through leaks in your duct work, even if your home is brand new.
This means that 25-40 cents of every dollar you spend isn’t actually heating (or cooling) your home.
Instead, it’s going into your walls and attic, and then right out of your home. Duct leakage in homes and buildings is such a major environmental problem, and such a drain on the energy grid, that the Department of Energy teamed up with a group of scientists and investors several years ago to create a product called Aeroseal, which seals up to 99% of duct leaks without the need for costly or invasive ducting renovation. It repairs systems from within so that they run the way they’re designed to run: efficiently, and at the lowest cost possible.
Leaky duct work also means that your system is sucking contaminated air from the dirtiest parts of your home—such as walls, attics, and basements—and cycling into your indoor breathing air. Yuck! It’s for precisely this reason that the Environmental Protection Agency has labeled Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) a Top 5 Risk to Public Health!
Aeroseal is one of the most effective and fastest ways to reduce your energy bills, maximize the efficiency of your system, and vastly improve your indoor air quality.
To learn more, please visit our Aeroseal page.
For homeowners who don’t have forced air systems, or who are looking for an additional improvement, consider heavy curtains. They may block some light, but a curtain covering a window creates a barrier against cold air seeping in through unseen cracks. With sun-facing windows, you can also try opening those heavy curtains during the day to benefit from the sun’s natural warming radiation, and then closing them at night.
Don’t forget to seal around your windows, too!
Why not use the cold weather as an excuse to cook a batch of cookies or a pizza, or some other guilty pleasure? Once the food is done (and the oven is turned off), leave the door open for a few minutes to let all that 350-degree heat fill your home.
Warning: Don’t do this if you have kids or a pet, and never run the oven with the door open! We want you to be safe!
It’s common knowledge that homeowners ought to consider sealing their doors and windows, but you’d be surprised how often attic entrances are overlooked. After all, heat rises, so why let it rise right out of your home?
That means you should consider weather stripping your attic entrance, and/or around your central fan system.
Check around your attic hatch—and any other ceiling penetrations—to be sure it’s got a good seal around it.
Bonus Tip: Other sources of air leakage can often be found around ceiling fixtures and appliances such as ceiling fans and canned or recessed lighting. Seal those, too!
Bubble wrap your windows. Yup, we went there. It may not be the prettiest solution, but unpopped bubble wrap increases your windows’ insulation value … and it’s cheap.
Simply get some nice strong tape and a pair of scissors or a razor blade, cut the bubble wrap to size, and tape them up as needed. Voila!
Are your radiators old? Consider placing high quality aluminum foil behind the units to reflect heat back into the room, rather than letting all that comfy warmth immediately rise to the ceiling. After all, not everyone is a professional basketball player and gets to enjoy all the heat that collects along your ceiling.
So, there you have it, six quick tips that can reduce your energy expenses. If you have any questions, just give us a call, or contact us.
We look forward to helping you out!