(BRANDON HANSEN/Chewelah Independent)
We know we’re not revealing any breaking news, during the late fall and winter months, it gets colder. Avista Utilities estimated that home heating is 40-60 percent of the charges on customer’s monthly energy bill, which can impact the pocketbook.
If you’re looking to save some money, here are some ways you can ensure your home heating system runs less often.
CHECK YOUR INSULATION
Check your house’s insulation as it both ensures a warm house in the winter and a cool one during the summer. Make sure you house is properly insulated and even wrap insulation around your pipes to give your water heater a break and it will also prevent the pipes from freezing.
CHECK DOORS AND WINDOWS FOR LEAKS
One of the most common drivers of increased heating system activity is a cold air draft. Air drafts are essentially air leaks and can be found in any age or type of home. Fireplace dampers and cracks in or around windows and doors are common sources of drafts. Install multi-use window plastic and rope caulk to keep cold air out and warm air in. Add door sweeps and weather stripping around exterior doors to help stop cold air drafts. Close the damper on a fireplace, when it’s not in use. Put up extra thick curtains and close doors on unused or seldom-used rooms. Rugs on bare floors can also help to keep the heat in. Also make sure you place a plastic cover over air conditioning ducts and check vents and make sure there are flaps over them.
INSTALL ENERGY EFFICIENT LIGHTING
Install energy efficient LEDs to use up to 80 percent less electricity while producing the same amount of light as older incandescent or CFL lightbulbs. This is especially effective during the winter as daylight decreases and relying on natural sunlight to keep home interiors lit becomes difficult. Also dimmer switches can be used to lower lights and use less wattage.
USE A PROGRAMMABLE THERMOSTAT
A programmable thermostat can make changes automatically while you’re not home or in bed and can help make your heating more efficient.
Bundle up a bit more in the winter with warmer clothing. You don’t have to dress like an artic explorer indoors, but an extra layer can help you resist really cranking the heat up.
REPLACE YOUR AIR FILTER
Replacing your HVAC system’s air filter can make it perform more effciently, as a dirty filter is full of dust, pollen and lint which causes the system to work harder.
LOWER THE TEMPERATURE OF YOUR WATER HEATER
Part of your heating expenses come from the hot water tank in your home. Lowering it a few degrees can shave money off the electric bill. You could also think about washing clothes in cold water. Using your dishwasher is more energy efficient than hand washing them. Whether it’s laundry or dishes, always make sure you have full loads.
UNPLUG APPLIANCES WHEN NOT USING THEM
Even items that are turned off, they still draw electricity. Electronics consume 75 percent of their energy while they are turned off.