The cold, Canadian winter months are often a battle between your home and your wallet. Since we understand how important it is to stay warm, we’ve put together a list of tricks to help you keep cozy through this last stretch of winter while keeping your budget in check.
- Get your Furnace Cleaned. While its a pricier option, having your furnace cleaned and properly maintained by a licensed professional will have the largest impact on the efficiency of your unit. Even the most modern, high-efficiency furnaces can perform poorly if they are not cleaned and inspected regularly. Servicing your furnace unit in the mid to late fall, before the real cold weather starts, can work wonders on your energy bill.
- Replace Your Filter. Furnaces can not only lose performance, but can stop working all together if the filter becomes too clogged. Replacing a furnace filter is a simple job that most home owners are able to complete on their own. One of the main things to remember when changing your filter on your own, is to make sure that you have purchased a new filter in the correct size for your unit. If you aren’t sure what size of filter to buy, just ask us. We normally have all of the different sizes available in stock. Plus, if you are already having your furnace cleaned, we will install the new filter for you at the same time.
- Turn Down Your Thermostat When You Aren’t Home. You can save up to an extra 3% on your heating bill for every degree you turn down your thermostat.Turning it down by 10 degrees or so during the day when you leave for work or when you go to sleep at night can add up and make a significant difference to your heating bill. The most convenient way to use this method is with a programmable thermostat. This helps you to be able to set the temperature change an at what time you wish it to change. Eliminating the need to remember to constantly adjust the thermostat. You could even set it to turn up the heat slightly right before you get out of bed to help prevent a rude, cold wake up call.
- Catch Some Rays. Opening your curtains during a sunny day allows natural sunlight to shine in and help warm up your home. If your home sits in an area of high exposure, why not take advantage of it? An added bonus is the additional natural light eliminates the need for more electric lights to be turned on during the day. Thus adding some savings to your electric bill as well! Just don’t forget to close the Curtains once the sun goes down to keep that heat inside.
- Watch the Fans. Kitchen and bathroom fans can rid a home full of warm air in about an hour if left on. When you use them, make sure you turn them off as soon as you’re done!
- Plug Your Leaks. You’d never leave an outside door wide open during the winter would you? Yet if you add up all of the gaps around your home, you’d come pretty close to matching the size of your front door. Applying weather stripping to outside doors and caulking window frames is a fairly inexpensive way to improve energy efficiency throughout. Plus, the cost of supplies is easily made up in energy savings by the end of the season.
- Unblock Your Vents. Ensure your heating system has a fluid and unobstructed flow throughout your home. Objects in front of the vents such as rugs or furniture can prevent the hot air from circulating properly.
- “Shrink” your home. You know that spare bedroom that no one uses? That one room that has become a catch-all host for random items and assorted storage? Closing the vents and door to that room can quickly reduce your furnace’s heating load by 100-200 square feet!
- Add Some Extra Insulation. A properly and fully insulated attic and exterior walls will help to keep all of that generated heat inside. This in turn then helps your furnace to not work overtime to replace the heat escaping out.
- Dress for the Weather. Keeping your home so warm in the winter so that you need to wear shorts and a tank top makes as much sense as keeping your home so cool in the summer that you need to wear a parka. Now, we’re not suggesting you cut your heat and wear jackets indoors during the winter, but we are suggesting that you have your internal temperature at a comfortable setting. Something that allows you to be comfortable while wearing long pants, and a long sleeve shirt or light sweater. Remember, its much cheaper to reach for another layer than to turn up the heat 5 or more degrees.
These few tips can certainly take you a long way in terms of your energy savings. However, if your furnace unit is over 10-15 years old you may need to look into replacing it with a modern high-efficiency unit if you are having serious spikes in your energy bill or any mechanical issues. The savings you’ll generate in the first few years alone will pay for the installation, which also happens to be one of the most important factors in determining efficiency.
If this is what you’re planning, contact us today. We can walk you through the process of choosing your unit as well as taking care of the installation. Just have questions? Give us a call anyways! We’d love to help you out!