Energy saving tips for winter
Even though the year is new, the weather isn’t! As winter temperatures might be keeping us indoors and running our heating systems more constantly than ever, consider a few strategies to conserve energy during what can be a utility bill-heavy time of year.
1. Get your heating system inspected
When was the last time you had your home’s heating system inspected? Scheduling an annual check up for your home’s furnace, boiler or heat pump is a must to help it run as efficiently as possible. Getting your unit to optimal performance will save you from having to run it overtime to compensate for poor performance, will help prevent emergency breakdowns, and will extend the lifespan and durability of your heater.
2. Check in on attic insulation
Putting high-performance insulation in your attic makes a significant difference in heating costs. Insulation with a high R-value, or thermal resistance, helps prevent the air you’ve paid to heat from escaping from your living space and into your attic, where it collects and eventually leaks out of your home. By creating a solid thermal barrier between your conditioned (heated) and unconditioned (unheated) spaces in your home, attic insulation will help you save energy while improving home comfort.
3. Inspect your home’s air sealing
Everyone’s home has small cracks and gaps throughout that perforate the boundary, or building envelope, between conditioned and unconditioned space. These holes can add up to significant wasted energy and can cause your heating unit to run unnecessarily long and hard to compensate. To counteract this, you can seal up the gaps with a special type of foam that stops air loss and keeps your heated air where it should be. Homeowners who air seal throughout their home can save up to 15% on heating costs.
4. Cover drafty windows (or take measures to stop the leaks)
If your windows aren’t properly sealed, they can be leaky and cause discomfort in the home. Make sure to at least cover up the inside of the window frames with heavy curtains or a plastic sheet during the coldest part of the year to cut down on air transfer. For a more permanent solution, have a professional come in and air seal around the window frames or even upgrade to efficient double or triple pane windows that will leak less.
5. Turn down and check up on your water heater
You can turn down your water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit to save on water heating costs during the winter. Water heater manufacturers typically pre-set the tank temperature at 140 degrees, which can get your water really hot (likely hotter than you’d ever need it), but will end up costing you in energy bills. Turning down your water heater 20 degrees can save an average of 6% to 10% on energy costs, according to The Simple Dollar.
Similar to maintaining your heating unit, scheduling maintenance for your water heater can help fix some hidden issues you may not have noticed, like sediment buildup. Having a water heater running at top performance is especially important during the winter when homeowners tend to use more hot water for longer showers, hand washing, etc.
6. Install a programmable thermostat
Why pay to heat your home when you don’t need it to be warm 24/7? A programmable thermostat will help you manage your home’s temperature with a pre-set schedule, helping cut back on winter heating costs when you’re not at home or don’t need the heat. When used properly, these thermostats can help you save up to 15% on energy costs.
Smart energy financing from Renew Financial
At Renew Financial, we’re dedicated to helping homeowners like you afford strategic home upgrades--including heating unit upgrades, high-efficiency window replacements, air sealing, insulation, and much more--that save energy and boost comfort year-round. We offer PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) financing with 100% upfront funding that homeowners pay back on their property tax bill over 5-30 years. This smart financing program may help keep your utility bills to a minimum through winter and into the seasons ahead.