Tips to Lower Your Heating Bill this Winter
Winter in Central Florida is usually fairly mild, but temperatures can sometimes reach the upper 20’s. And there are plenty of occasions when even Central Floridians need to rely on the “heating” portion of their “heating, ventilation and air conditioning” systems.
Scott’s Heating & Air Conditioning, one of Central Florida’s leading HVAC companies, offers the following tips to keep your heating bill from breaking the bank this winter.
- Install a programmable thermostat
A programmable thermostat can save you up to 15 percent if you program it to turn down 10 degrees during the time you’re sleeping or not at home. When you are home, consider wearing a sweater instead of turning up the heat. Each degree you lower your thermostat setting, within the 60-70 degree zone, will save you about 2 percent on your yearly energy bill.
- Eliminate heat leaks
Closing drafts in your home is an easy DIY project. You’ll need insulating foam sealant and weatherizing silicone caulk – both are readily available at home improvement stores. Now you’re ready to go on the hunt for heat leaks. Common heat leaking culprits include:
- Exterior door thresholds – If you can see daylight under your door, then you’ve probably found a heat leak. In fact, up to 12 percent of heat loss in the home happens around doors and windows. If the weather stripping around the door looks worn, replace it.
- Window frames – Check for old or cracked caulk and replace it.
- Attic doors – Because heat rises, a drafty attic door or access hatch can suck up the warmth in your house and leave you with a higher electric bill.
- Electrical outlets – On a cold day, do any outlets feel cold or even give off a faint draft? If so, you can remove the outlet cover and use caulking to fill gaps around the outside of the box.
- Plumbing entrances – Any place where pipes enter and leave the home should be sealed with foam or caulk.
- Chimney – Have the damper in your chimney checked to be sure that it fits snugly in order to prevent heat leaks.
Note: if you don’t have the ability to “do it yourself,” please contact Scott’s Air and one of our skilled technicians will come out and eliminate the heating leaks.
- Decrease ventilator fan use
Built-in fans in kitchens and bathrooms provide important air circulation to remove fumes from cooking and excess humidity from showering. During the winter, however, these fans can become heat thieves. Ventilator fans can quickly remove warm indoor air if left running. Teach everyone living your house to use these fans only as needed.
- Increase the humidity
We feel colder in dry air and adding some moisture will allow your indoor air to retain the heat longer. By increasing your home’s humidity to a comfortable level, you can make 68F feel as comfortable as 75F. Easy ways to increase humidity include adding houseplants, using indoor drying racks for laundry, and leaving water-filled dishes in unobtrusive spots around the house. The target zone is 30-50 percent humidity.
- Improve the energy efficiency of your windows
In addition to replacing old caulk as mentioned above, also consider these cold weather window tips:
- Install tight-fitting, insulating window shades on windows that feel drafty after weatherizing.
- Close your curtains and shades at night to protect against cold drafts; open them during the day to let in warming sunlight. Install exterior or interior storm windows, which can reduce heat loss through the windows by approximately 10%-20%, depending on the type of window already installed in the home.
- Repair and weatherize your current storm windows, if necessary.