Reduce the Cost of Home Heating | Heating and Air Conditioning
Using the following tips will enable you to reduce the cost of home heating without sacrificing comfort this winter. Adjusting the thermostat is one of many means of reducing energy costs. A programmable thermostat allows the thermostat to operate on a schedule, which enables comfort to be maintained while maximizing energy savings year round, with both your heating and air conditioning.
Air Leakage Air leakage occurs when air from outside of the home gains entry and conditioned air leaves the home through cracks, gaps and unsealed areas. During warm weather when the air is still, insufficient air may enter resulting in poor indoor air quality.
In addition, air leakage contributes to moisture issues that can affect the health of your family, such as mold, and can lead to deterioration of your home’s structure. Sealing cracks and gaps reduces hot and cold spots, improving your comfort, and enabling the heating and air conditioning system to operate more efficiently and run less often saving on energy costs, and helping to prevent excessive wear on the system.
Program for Savings
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you can save up to 1% on heating costs for every eight hours the thermostat is set back by one degree. This means, for example, setting the thermostat back 70° to 65° while you sleep, can save you as much as 5% on heating costs.
Even greater savings are achieved by setting the thermostat back by 10 to 15 degrees while the family is away at work or school. A programmable thermostat provides an easy means of achieving this, and can save you up to 15% on heating and air conditioning costs annually.
Sealing the Envelope
Sealing the air leaks in your home can result in a savings of as much as 10% on winter heating costs. Provide a critical eye for detail inspecting the home for air leaks. Start with doors and windows.
Windows – Seal cracks on a windows non-moving surfaces. If you live in a historic home still adorned with its original windows, check the caulk around the window panes and replace cracked or missing caulking.
Unfortunately, many builders fail to insulate around the window casings, leaving a large area to leak cold air in. Feel around the casing for cold air. If you feel air it may be un-insulated. For the homeowner who is handy with DIY skills and can safely remove the casing without damaging it, insulating around windows saves money on heating and air.
Doors – Check the doors fit and weather stripping. Check doors when the sun is shining on them if possible. If you are able to see daylight the door is in need of adjustment.
Inspect weather stripping for cracks and deterioration, replace as required.
Electrical and Plumbing Gaps
Gaps around water lines and drains where they penetrate the floor or wall are a potential source of air leaks. Use caulking or expanding foam to seal gaps. Bathtubs often have very large holes cut to make the plumber’s job easier, seal with insulation.
Next, check around light fixtures, these areas are typically unsealed. Light fixtures create heat, which needs to escape, especially in can lights. Due to these safety concerns homeowners are best advised to have gaps around lighting sealed by a qualified professional. Homeowner’s can stop air leaks around electrical switches and outlets with foam insulators designed for this very job.
Basement Air Leaks
Inspecting for air leaks include penetrations through the basement walls. Don’t use caulking or expanding foam around surfaces that are hot. Flues or other hot surfaces require a special high heat sealer. Don’t forget to inspect and seal around windows and doors in the basement.Seal Ductwork
Examine ductwork for loose tape and loose or separated joints. Use mastic or metal-backed (foil) tape to seal ductwork after removing deteriorated tape.
Insulating ductwork in homes will save you money annually by preventing the loss of heat during the winter and the gain of heat during the summer. Don’t use duct tape, it really isn’t engineered for ductwork, regardless of its name. Sealed and insulated ductwork can save you up to 20% annually on the cost of heating and air conditioning.
Inspect the attic insulation to ensure it is adequate. Blown in insulation will settle over time, requiring additional insulation to be added. Typically, if you can see the rafters insulation is required.
Live in an older home with un-insulated walls? New siding will provide the opportunity to add foam board insulation behind it. While the average foam board will only add an R value of 1, it will help to cut down on drafts via the walls. Thicker insulating foam board with excellent insulating properties is available. If cost is an issue, consider its installation on the north wall if nowhere else.
Close fireplace dampers when not in use. An open damper literally pulls the heat out of the home and straight out of the chimney. Keep the damper closed when the fireplace isn’t in use.
Furnace or Heat Pump Maintenance
If you haven’t already had the furnace or heat pump inspected and tuned-up for the season, do so now. A well-tuned HVAC system will operate more efficiently, saving you money on energy costs year round and maintaining the comfort of your home winter and summer with efficiently operating heating and air conditioning. Remember to inspect and change the filter monthly to promote peak performance, and to prevent damage from occurring to the furnace.
Install a new energy efficient system. If you are planning to install a newheating and air conditioning system, buy ENERGY STAR. Replacing your old heating and air conditioning system with a new, energy-efficient model is a great way to reduce energy cost and increase reliability.
The purchase of a new, energy efficient HVAC alone isn’t a guarantee of saving money. The efficiency, performance and longevity of the system are dependent upon the qualification and expertise of the installer. Improper installation can reduce system efficiency by up to 30 %, according to the EPA. Being licensed and certified isn’t a guarantee of a qualified installer. Look for a highly recommended company and check reviews.
Cypress Heating and Air Conditioning hopes you found this information on how to reduce the cost of home heating helpful. We offer certified and experienced HVAC technicians. Our technicians provide heating and air conditioning repair, installation and maintenance with the expertise to meet or exceed the industry’s recommendations. We serve Katy, Plano and the surrounding areas.