Top 5 Energy Zapping Habits in Winter
According to the Energy Information Administration, there will be an increase in heating bills this coming winter. Almost half of Americans use natural gas to heat their homes, and the cost of that is predicted to be 25% higher than last year. Those who heat their homes with electricity can also expect to pay more – about an 8% increase from 2021. Wasted energy translates into a higher bill at the end of the month. Here are some ways you may be wasting energy without even realizing it.
- Lack of strategy – most of us like to feel cozy and warm during the cold weather, which can lead to cranking up the thermostat to heat your home. However, if you have the heat turned up all the time, you are wasting a lot of energy and your bill will reflect that. Be strategic when adjusting the temperature. During the parts of the day when you are home and not in bed, you can raise the temperature a few degrees for comfort. When you go to bed and are snuggled up under the covers, you should lower the temperature. You don’t need the temperature to be as high and research suggests that sleeping in cooler temperatures can be healthier and more restful. You also need to adjust the temperature when you leave for the day – you don’t want to pay to heat an empty home. Don’t turn the heater off, just lower the temperature a few degrees. An easy way to save money and energy is to install a Smart Thermostat. You can control it remotely from your phone and it learns your habits, so even if you forget to make the thermostat adjustment, it will do it for you.
- Clothing optional – wearing shorts and a t-shirt when you are home during the winter is another way you are wasting energy. In cooler weather, throw on a comfy pair of slippers and a warm sweater instead of raising the temperature. Obviously, if you are still cold, go ahead and raise the thermostat by a degree or two, but try putting on an extra layer of warm clothes before you do that.
- Leaking windows and doors – heated air can easily escape through gaps and poor seals around windows and doors. You can check for leaks by lighting a candle and slowly tracing the outline of the window or door. The flame should remain relatively steady. If the flame or smoke starts to pull strongly in one direction, that indicates a leak. Some of these leaks can be taken care of on your own, by purchasing a door draft guard or weather stripping for your windows. If your windows or doors are very old, it is probably time to replace them with more energy-efficient models. Look for the EnergyStar logo when shopping.
- Space heaters – these seem like a quick and easy fix for areas that are notoriously cold. Don’t be fooled – they suck up a lot of energy and don’t really heat spaces efficiently. They are designed to heat a small space for a short amount of time. Running them continuously as a primary source of heat will significantly increase your energy bill. Instead of spending money on a high bill, use it instead to replace or repair your current heating system – it will end up costing you less in the long run.
- Ceiling fan rotation – we often forget that ceiling fans can contribute to heating our homes, not just cooling them. The blades sit at an angle that allows the fan to either push air down or pull it up. In the summer you want the fan to rotate counterclockwise to create a cooling breeze. In the winter you need to turn the small switch and shift the rotation clockwise and have it on a low speed. Because warm air rises, the heated air will be at the top but the ceiling fan will force it back down and make the space warmer. The small switch should be down in the summer and up in the winter, or (if horizontal) left for summer and right for winter.
In order for your heating system to operate as efficiently as possible, you should schedule an HVAC maintenance visit this fall, before you turn on your heat. Our knowledgeable team at Weather Crafters will make sure that your system is in tip-top shape, and ready to handle cold temperatures. To save energy and save money, take care of your HVAC system. Give Weather Crafters a call today!