Save Energy Throughout Fall and Winter With These Tips
Georgia’s summer is coming to a close and now is the time to change your mind set for the cooler months ahead. It’s easy to save money throughout fall and winter when you implement these proven tips for energy savings.
Run the Furnace More Efficiently
- Keep the temperature low: If you keep the thermostat at 68 degrees instead of 72 degrees, you save about 8 percent on your heating bills.
- Use the thermostat wisely: A programmable thermostat provides the easiest way to program setback periods while you’re away or sleeping. By setting the temperature back 10 to 15 degrees twice a day for eight hours at a time (such as while you’re asleep or at work), you can save about 10 percent on your heating bills.
- Don’t crank up the temperature: If you get chilly, increase the temperature by a degree or two. Cranking the thermostat up to 90 degrees doesn’t warm your home any faster and only stands to waste energy.
- Schedule preventative maintenance: Fall is the perfect time to have your heater inspected. With a tune-up at the start of winter, you’re all set for a comfortable, efficient heating season.
- Keep the registers open: Your furnace is balanced carefully, and when you close supply registers, you throw off this balance. Keep registers unblocked by furniture and rugs to ensure proper airflow.
Heat Water More Efficiently
- Turn the temperature down: Water heaters are set to 140 degrees by default. Save on water heating costs and prevent scalding at the tap by decreasing the temperature to 120 degrees.
- Insulate the pipes and water heater: You can buy a special water heater jacket and pipe wraps to insulate the tank and the first six feet of plumbing leading to and from the water heater. This reduces standby heat loss and helps the water heat up faster at the tap.
- Maintain your water heater: Four times a year, drain a quart of water from the water heater to help remove sediment that reduces heat transfer efficiency.
- Use less water: Install low-flow fixtures, take shorter showers, turn off the water when you brush your teeth, only run the dishwasher and washing machines with full batches, and repair pipe or faucet leaks as soon as possible.
Light Your Home More Efficiently
- Upgrade your light bulbs: With shorter days coming, you can expect to rely on artificial light more in the winter. Keep costs down by replacing incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) or light emitting diodes (LEDs). These consume a fraction of the energy and last years longer than traditional light bulbs.
- Turn the lights off: When you leave a room, get in the habit of flipping the switch on your way out the door. The energy savings from this simple tip can add up.
- Decorate with LED holiday lights: Replace those old incandescent strands with LED holiday lights. These stay cool to the touch, are more resistant to breaking, last dozens of holiday seasons and consume mere pennies over the course of a month.
Keep Cold Outdoor Air from Getting Inside
- Add caulk: Windows, doors, baseboards, plumbing and wiring penetrations, exhaust fans, the attic hatch, and anywhere else two building materials come together are prone to leaks. Seal these areas with caulk.
- Add weatherstripping: Windows and doors have operable joints that also need to be sealed. Weatherstripping is the solution with one adhesive side that sticks to the door jamb or window frame. Replace any worn out weatherstripping to establish a tighter seal between the indoors and outside.
- Boost attic insulation: You want a thick, even layer of insulation across the entire attic floor. Add extra fiberglass or cellulose insulation if needed to boost the heat-blocking power of the attic floor.
Energy Savings in Other Ways
- Add a whole-house humidifier: The air is naturally drier in the winter. You can bring the relative humidity to a comfortable 50 percent by adding a whole-house humidifier. When the air is moist, less water evaporates from your skin, which makes you feel warmer. This allows you to turn the thermostat down a degree or two without feeling uncomfortable.
- Run the ceiling fan in reverse: Don’t retire the ceiling fan for winter; instead, run it on low in reverse to redistribute air trapped at the ceiling back down to the living space.
- Let the sun warm your home: Open the drapes to let the sun’s rays provide free heat. Be sure to close them again at night to insulate the windows.
For more ideas for fall and winter energy savings, contact Wilson Bryant Air Conditioning in Macon today.