The ideal situation for any house during the chilly cold nights is to be warm at night with absolutely no cost, but we all know that it seldom happens this way, unless you live on another planet. There are some tricks that anyone can use to keep a house warm during the coldest night of the year and not have to cut a limb off to achieve it.
1. Keeping the heat in
When it gets cold outside, most of the heat in a building is lost through the windows and any other openings, no matter how small and insignificant they may seem. The first trick is to keep the heat inside the house, otherwise, if a furnace produces warmth and it flows right outside, spending money on heat is a waste. Sealing all openings tight so that no air gets in or out without your permission will make sure you don’t lose valuable heat. Sometimes gaps are obvious and visible, and often, when they are in the attic or under the house, they need to be spotted by a trained professional. Be sure to let us know if your heat is escaping your home too rapidly, or if you feel like you have an abnormally “drafty” house. It may not be as difficult as you might think to improve this.
Like a good blanket on a cold day, insulation doesn’t cost anything to be effective. However, the absence of insulation can really add up the costs. In Southern California, it was not until recently that homes were even required to have ANY insulation. So you could be effectively producing enough heat to meet the needs of your home only to have it lost due to a lack of insulation or insulation that is poorly performing. I’ve seen instances where insulation has paid for itself in a matter of months.
[Added bonus: Good insulation also helps keep the noise levels down too]
3. Program your thermostat
Even if you have a perfectly constructed home, the simple act of programming your thermostat could save you as much as 50% of your heating costs, according to Energystar.com. Programming your thermostat to allow your furnace to rest while you are asleep and while you are away is a great place to start. This doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice comfort. Good programming and a current model thermostat will make sure that your home is nice and toasty before you wake up and before you arrive home. Consider getting a Wi-Fi enabled thermostat to allow you to operate your system when you’re away from the house giving you even more customization and available options.
4. Sources of heat
Explore as many options as you can when it comes to providing heat to your home. Different areas of the country have different utility rates. It may help lower your bill to switch from gas to electric or from electric to gas. As wood burning fires are getting more regulated and restricted, it may be wise to consider alternatives to the method you’re currently using. The switch of many homes to solar allows for many old gas furnace homeowners to switch to heat pumps and electric forms of heat.
5. Maintaining your Furnace
Since air is the way most of our furnaces transmit the heat throughout our homes, keeping your air filter, blower compartment and coils clean is perhaps the simple most effective way to keep your costs down (especially if you’ve checked all the other stuff off this list). A gas valve out of adjustment and many other components to a heating system need maintenance and tuning. Southern California Edison released an article showing that homeowners can save up to %75 by maintaining their systems regularly. It should be noted that not maintaining your furnace is the fastest way to shorten its life expectancy.
Keeping the energy bill low is realistic only if the all of the advice above is applied effectively. Call Thomson AC at 562-201-3014 if you’d like us to do a service call for you!