In the cold winter months, our heaters have to work overtime to keep our properties climate controlled. Often, they work harder than they should have to. Improper insulation, irregular system maintenance, and general inattentiveness to cracks, corrosion, and broken fixtures on your property can increase energy costs and bills over the winter. By taking extra steps to keep your home or business insulated and energy-efficient, you can save hundreds to thousands of dollars on your heating bill.
When you run your heater, your home or business becomes a large enclosure for heat. The more secure your enclosure is, the less heat will escape — saving you money on energy costs over time. Here are a few tips you can take to improve your home or business from the outside to lower heating costs.
Stay on Top of Siding
Siding or stucco is the outermost layer of your property’s walls. While you can’t insulate it, you can optimize it to retain heat. Check your siding or stucco for cracking or signs of decay, and be sure to replace or repair where necessary. If have some extra savings lying around, you may want to consider upgrading your siding altogether. Energy-efficient options such as insulated vinyl siding have higher R-values and will retain heat much better than other types of siding (such as 1-inch brick or stone veneer). By staying on top of your siding or stucco, you can save hundreds on your heat bill each year.
Take Care of Cracks Around Windows and Doors
Small cracks and gaps around your windows and doors can lead to big costs on your electric bill over time. In the cold winter, these cracks let heat out. In the hot summer, they let heat in. Your system has to work harder than it should in both scenarios to keep your space climate-controlled. By sealing up cracks and gaps around your windows and doors, you can greatly improve the insulation in your home and save money on energy costs each season. Perform thorough inspections of all windows and entrances on your property, and invest in high-quality caulking and door sweeps where necessary.
Check Your Chimney
Is your chimney outfitted with temporary insulation? Does your fireplace have a cover? Affordable draft-stopping products can be placed in chimneys whenever you’re not having a fire. Together with fireplace covers, these products can drastically improve your property’s insulation capabilities and can reduce your yearly energy costs.
Clean Your Gutters
At first glance, your gutters may not seem related to insulation on your property at all. However, clogged or broken gutters can cause massive damage to your roof, which can lead to a whole host of insulation problems. Keeping your gutters clean will help keep them from breaking or depositing water onto your roof. In turn, this will help keep you roof in tip-top, fully-insulated shape, which will prevent your heating costs from skyrocketing.
While fortifying your building from the outside is an excellent way to keep heat from escaping, there are several things you can do for your space on the inside to optimize your heat efficiency overall. Follow these indoor tips to lower your heating bill this winter.
Change Your HVAC Filters Regularly
The filters in your HVAC system are the things that keep dirt, dust and debris out of your climate-controlled air. Like all filters, they can get dirty over time. When this happens, it can cause issues for both your air quality and your heating bill. Not only do clogged filters tend to have trouble with filtration — they also force your HVAC system to work harder than it would have it to with a perfectly clean filter. Clogged filters restrict airflow, meaning that an HVAC system will push less air through to your space while still expending the same amount of energy to climate control that air. The result: increased energy costs. Change your filters regularly to keep your heating (and cooling) costs low. Have your HVAC ducts inspected for leaks and proper insulation. Your HVAC system was designed to provide heated and cooled air to the living spaces within your home and office. Torn or leaky duct work will push this energy intensive conditioned air into your attic or inside your walls. 1-800-anytyme’s Heating & Air Conditioning specialists can inspect your ductwork for proper operation.
Insulate Your Property
No matter how thick your walls and roof are, some heat will eventually escape through them. To ensure that the least amount of heat escapes through property, it’s important to insulate target areas of your space to trap heat as effectively as possible. The most important areas of your property to insulate are your walls, your crawlspaces, and the underside of your roof in your attic. (This last area is especially important. You may remember from science class that heat rises. This principle applies to your property as well. In the average home, roughly 75% of heated air dissipates through the roof.)
Including Your Pipes
In addition to the areas mentioned above, there are certain fixtures inside your home or business that should also be insulated. Perhaps the most important are your pipes. Pipes carry hot water generated by your water heater to faucets across your property. When the water travels from water heater to faucets, some heat can diffuse through pipes along the way. This forces your water heater to work harder to keep the water hot, which leads to increased energy usage and costs over time. By insulating your pipes with sleeves or blankets, you can help trap heat and lower your energy bill.
While this last indoor tip may not seem like a much of heat-saver, the fact is that adding curtains or other treatments to your windows can go a long way in stopping drafts, thus saving you money on your heating bill over time. Even if your windows are totally crack-free, they still won’t insulate as well as your walls, which is why hanging curtains can help to conserve heat even in the newest of properties. Curtains or blinds create an extra layer of insulation that quite literally blocks heat from escaping. Plus, they’re decorative and can be used in virtually any space. (If decoration isn’t an issue, consider investing in a plastic window cover to drastically stop heat transfer around your windows.)