Fall is turning to winter, and it’s not just the cold we’re going to brave. The financial cost to keep your house cozy and warm is another fight coming our way. No one knows what sort of weather anomalies might occur this year, but here are some easy steps that can keep you safe from any freaky forecasts.
1. Keep your intakes clean!
A dirty vent return can cause restricted airflow, which means your system is going to work harder and less efficiently. Keeping your vent returns clean allows air to flow through your house with minimal resistance. If you have a slow, inefficient intake system, you might have to pay a higher utility bill each month. A simple solution to this grimy gripe is taking a vacuum or duster to your intakes and make sure they are clean and free of debris.
Setting a monthly reminder to clean these throughout the winter months is a great way to keep this on your agenda without having to keep it on the top of mind.
2. Run ceiling fans in reverse
Running your fans in reverse helps to push the warm air down that is rising to the top of the room. Allowing that warm air to circulate around the house keeps you warmer and your furnace from working harder than it needs to.
3. Turn down the heat when you leave
Phone. Keys. Wallet and - thermostat! Turning down the heat before you leave the house when you’re not using it can save you from the heat of a more expensive utility bill. No need to keep an empty house cooking. Turn the thermostat down a few degrees before you’re out for the day (but not too cool - you don’t want to risk any pipes bursting). If you have a programmable thermostat, you can automatically have it bring the heat down a bit during the day.
4. Lower the temperature on your water heater
While you’re turning down the house, remember that most water heaters are set to 140°F, but a majority of households don’t need that much scalding heat. Try turning the temperature to 120°F instead. It’s a small change that you likely won’t notice, but doing so will for sure save you a pretty penny.
5. Make your own DIY draft snake
One of the biggest energy suckers can be a bad draft. Luckily, this is an easy fix. Making your own draft snake is simple. You can use a pool noodle, towel, or even some old socks stuffed with beans. Now that’s some cool beans!
6. Seal up your windows
Whether you're using window film or weather stripping, preventing warm air from escaping and cool air from sneaking in can save you big time on your utility bill. These are temporary and low-skill projects that don’t require much maintenance or upkeep; something you can do yourself without the help of a handyman.
7. Break out the sweaters
It’s time to make like a seven-layer dip and embrace the sweater weather. This one is possibly the easiest and involves the most common sense. Don’t expect to be walking around in your summer skivvies mid-January. Dressing appropriately for the weather while inside allows you to keep your thermostat set a little lower. Again, saving you some cash, which will be nice for the upcoming holidays.