Posted on December 18, 2014

energy-saving tipsNighttime winter temperatures in the Amarillo area often drop below freezing, so putting some of these energy-saving tips can help lower heating costs. The time and money it takes to execute them are well spent since they’ll work year-round to stop heat transfer. The cooler months lend themselves to making long-lasting home improvements that start saving energy the minute they’re installed.

Heat Loss Prevention

Air leaks and inadequate attic insulation drive up energy consumption continuously. A professional energy audit will show you exactly where you’re losing energy in your home.

In lieu of an audit, check your home for air leaks around its shell, paying close attention to:

  • Exterior window and door frames
  • Places where any pipes, wires or cables enter your home
  • Dryer vents
  • Wall or window air conditioners
  • Recessed lighting that enters the attic
  • Kitchen and bathroom vents that exit outdoors
  • Fireplace damper
  • Chimneys, water heater, and furnace flues

Home improvement centers stock products that will seal these leaks, like different kinds of caulk, weatherstripping, expanding foam, and metal flashing. When choosing them, look for heat-resistant products for any vents or flues that remove heat from the home.

Expanding foam will seal the larger gaps, and some of it is rated for use around electrical wiring. If you’re sealing something you plan to remove later, avoid silicon caulk since it’s difficult to remove. Acrylic or latex caulk is weather resistant. Metal flashing works well around chimneys and furnace flues where hot exhaust gasses exit.

A leaking fireplace damper lets air in and out all year. A new product called a chimney balloon is available that fits inside the chimney and does a good job plugging the gaps between the damper and the flue. Some will automatically deflate if you forget to remove it when starting a fire.

The U.S. Department of Energy recommends at least 16 inches of insulation in the attic and it’s one of the best energy-saving tips for year-round savings. The easiest products to use for a do-it-yourself project are insulating batts made from fiberglass, mineral wool or recycled cotton. Loose cellulose is an effective insulating material and home centers typically rent the blowers required for its installation.

Heating System Maintenance

Since your heating system uses a good deal of energy to keep your home comfortable. Consider these energy-saving tips to cut those costs:

  • Keep the air filter clean. Nothing increases heating costs faster than a dirty air filter. The airflow through the air handler slows and it takes the system longer to heat your home, driving up energy consumption. The dust from a dirty filter will cover all the parts inside the air handler, shortening its lifespan.
  • Have your heating system serviced annually. Professional HVAC maintenance will improve its efficiency as much as possible and help assure your safety. Opting for a maintenance agreement with an HVAC contractor saves money and time and lengthens the life of your system. The technician will also detect ductwork leaks that increase your energy bill quickly.
  • Consider installing a programmable thermostat. If you’re away routinely, such a device will lower the temperature when you’re away and increase it just before you return home. It will also automatically lower the temperature at night, warming your home shortly before you rise.

Lifestyle Changes

Putting these habit-changing energy-saving tips for winter into place will lower heating bills and increase your safety and comfort.

  • Turn the water heater temperature down to 120 degrees. Not only will it cut your water heating bill, it will also lengthen the life of this appliance, reducing hard water deposits. It also reduces the risk of scalding injuries.
  • Insulate the windows. If your windows are single-pane, the heat leaving them, especially at night, will be substantial. You can apply clear plastic window film over them to cut the heat transfer. The sealing kits may be available locally, or you can find them online.
  • Use kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans. Extra humidity in your home makes it feel warmer and reduces the ability of bacteria and viruses to infect you. You can also use portable or a central humidification system for even more comfort and protection.

The pros Grizzle Heating & Air can help you with energy-saving tips that will cut your home’s heating costs and lengthen your HVAC system’s life. We’ve provided top-notch services for homeowners in the Canyon area for more than 15 years.

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