Summer is officially over and Fall is here, with Winter not far behind… and now is the perfect time to get those hoses disconnected from the house so you don’t end up with frozen water or burst pipes!
Here are 15 other tips to help you get prepared (and save money) during the colder weather:
- Fix hot water leaks
- Check insulation and add more if needed
Even a well-insulated home may need additional insulation, now and again, due to animals (e.g., cats, possums, raccoons, etc.) getting into the attic and bedding down. Make a visual inspection of your attic insulation to see if any problems are obvious and require immediate attention.
- Lower the thermostat setting
Lowering your thermostat by just a few degrees in the winter does make a difference. If you tend to wear sweaters or sweatshirts, this will make you more comfortable too. At the very least, it makes sense to set the thermostat lower when you’re under the covers or during the day when no one’s home.
- Turn ceiling fans off when you leave the room
Ceiling fans do not change room air temperatures. In the summer they create a cooling sensation from air moving across your skin. In the winter they can help move colder air from the floor towards the ceiling, displacing the warmer air that rises. This is air movement. If no one is in the room, no one benefits from the air movement, while you continue to pay for the fan energy.
- Get your heating system tuned up for the winter
This may be the single best return on investment you can make. Tune-ups aren’t expensive and pay off in a few months. Furnace burners fall out of adjustment. Adjusting the burners for an optimal burn is one of the tasks performed during a furnace tune-up. This can save significant amounts of gas.
Heat pump coils get dirty. Cleaning them is simply one part of a heating system tune-up and can dramatically improve the heat transfer efficiency. Your refrigerant levels, if low, are also costing you. While refrigerant levels are checked during a tune-up, repairing the leaks (highly recommended) is usually extra.
- Have your ducts checked for leaks
If you have ducts in unconditioned space, leaks mean you are either paying to heat the outside of sucking cold, unheated air into your house. It’s like leaving a window open and putting a fan in the window to blow cold air into the house or hot air out of the house depending on where the leak is located.
- Increase the efficiency of your heating system
Heating system efficiency continues to improve. Your furnace or heat pump may be an old inefficient model. Replacing it with a new system, properly sized for your home and usage can cut heating costs in half! Plus, you eliminate all repair expenses during the warranty period. Also, the components of some heat pump systems are improperly matched. Merely matching the proper air handler located inside the house with the heat pump found outside means you will finally achieve nameplate efficiency.
- Wash full loads of dishes
It takes just as much energy and water to wash half a load of dishes as a full load. Fill up the dishwasher before you turn it on.
- Clear your clothes dryer of lint
Lint impedes the effectiveness of the dryer. The more lint that collects, the more you have to run the dryer to get clothes dry. Save your lint for a local Boy Scout or for when you go camping — it makes a great fire-starter..!
- Wash and dry full loads
It takes just as much energy to wash and dry half a load of clothes as a full load. If you can, simply wait a day or two until you have a full load.
- Replace your water heater with a tankless water heater or a solar water heater
Tankless water heaters are more efficient than storage water heaters because they eliminate standby losses from hot water cooling in the tank. They also take up less space and eliminate the potential for leaks from burst tanks. Even better than tankless water heaters are solar-assisted water heaters. Solar provides free hot water, which is supplemented by electricity or gas as needed.
- Shower rather than bathing
Believe it or not, showering uses less water. Even more important, it uses less hot water.
- Turn off lights
If no one is in the room, turn off the lights. If your family can’t seem to remember to turn off the lights, install motion-sensitive light switches that automatically turn lights on and off.
- Replace incandescent lights with compact fluorescents
Compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) have dramatically improved. They mimic natural night and their cost is falling fast. More importantly, they use dramatically less energy. As they fail, just replace those incandescent lights with longer-lasting CFLs.
- Shut off vampire appliances
Don’t fret about things that go bump in the night… instead, focus on your life-sucking appliances. Lots of home office products and consumer electronics remain in a standby mode, quietly draining energy even while they seem to be turned off. Plug these into power strips and turn them completely off, en masse. Just like a stake to their tiny beeping hearts.
Dripping faucets aren’t good a general rule. But when you’re leaking hot water, costs can skyrocket. Every day you put off repairing that leaky faucet is costing you money, and big time. Sooner or later they need to be repaired… why not do it sooner and waste less..?
You can easily perform many of the items on this list but others require professionals. Call us to talk about the products and services we provide. You can contact us at (636) 442-0338.