October is here and that means finally adjusting your HVAC system from cold to hot. With this adjustment comes an adjustment in your heating bills, which always puts a damper on your winter funds. Rather than pay high costs for your winter heating, consider the following energy saving tips that can ease the drain on your bank account during the heating months and all year long.
Every home is comprised of several systems and each system consumes its share of the energy budget. The goal of any energy-saving strategy is to shrink the size of the budget by organizing and prioritizing energy-usage modifications, short-term efficiency projects and long-term efficiency projects, upgrades and system replacements as they arise.
Windows are one of the most important components of the home’s envelope and they deserve special treatment. As much as 40-percent of a home’s heat gain/loss may occur through windows.
- Today – Older windows typically offer poor R-value. If you touch any window on a cold day or any sun-facing window on a hot day, you can see for yourself how substantial heat gain/loss is for your windows. Open sun-facing window coverings during the daytime (heating months) and close them at night.
- Short-term – Drape your windows in layers, such as utilizing close-fit blinds, sheer curtains and heavy curtains. By doing this, you can adjust coverings as needed for optimal light infusion and minimal heat loss.
- Long–term – Window screens and films are practical efficiency treatments that boost R-value, block damaging UV rays, and still allow light into the home. When it’s time to upgrade your windows due to improvements, consider Energy-Star qualified windows for better efficiency.
Water Heating Energy Saving Tips
Almost every house needs hot water each day for bathing, cooking and cleaning, which helps explain why water heating accounts for a quarter of your energy budget. Now you can cut the water heating bills and still enjoy nice hot showers with these energy-saving tips.
- Today – Check the hot water temperature with a thermometer at the most distant outlet (sink or shower). An energy-efficient temperature is 118 to 120 degrees. If the temperature is higher, turn back the thermostat on the water heater a notch or two.
- Short–term – Insulate all hot water piping with fiberglass sleeves or wrap. You may boost hot water two to four degrees, and receive hot water faster at the outlet.
- Long–term – Flush a gallon of water at the drain valve each month. This helps remove sediment and minerals. Schedule water heater maintenance with furnace maintenance each year.
HVAC Energy Saving Tips
The largest part of your energy budget goes to home heating. The performance of your furnace is vital for home safety and comfort. Regular professional furnace maintenance keeps your system in great condition, which can prevent breakdowns and failures.
- Today – Check your air filter. A clean air filter reduces energy costs and reduces the pressure drop across the furnace blower. You should also use ceiling fans during the heating months to help circulate airflow. The ceiling fans should pull air up toward the ceiling during the heating months (with clockwise blade rotation) and push air down during the summer (counter-clockwise).
- Short–term – The furnace and venting system should be inspected and tuned up each fall by your HVAC professional
- . Make sure the venting is clear of obstructions and continue to keep an eye on the venting system.
- Long–term – If your furnace has needed repairs in the past few years and is more than 10 years old, consider upgrading to a high-efficiency furnace. The energy savings are immediate and the return on investment helps pay for the replacement costs in a few years.
For more information on energy saving tips and preparing for the fall and winter months to come, contact the professionals at Connect BS.