5 Simple Ways To Lower Energy Costs This Winter

Keeping your family warm and comfortable in the winter often seems synonymous with high electric bills. Luckily though, there are things you can do to keep your house warmer without cranking the heat. Here are five easy ways to keep your energy bills manageable all winter, without sacrificing warmth or comfort:

Have Your Furnace Maintained Annually

It can be tempting to avoid having your furnace maintained until something goes majorly wrong, but this is a big mistake. Instead, add annual furnace maintenance to your yearly calendar. Each fall or winter, have your furnace inspected and tuned up by a professional no matter what.

They will diagnose and fix any issues causing your furnace to be less efficient than it should be. They will also change the filter, allowing your furnace to work much more efficiently since it won't have to attempt to push heat through a clogged, dirty filter. You will have to pay for this annual maintenance, but your furnace will last longer and your energy bills will be lower, saving you money in the long-run.

Switch to a Programmable Thermostat

A programmable thermostat makes your life easier and helps keep your heating costs under control. Instead of wasting heat when you're not home or snuggled under warm blankets at night, you can program your thermostat to a cooler temperature during the day when you're at work, and at night. It will automatically warm things up when you most need it, so you will always be comfortable. This is a much more energy efficient approach than having your furnace cycle on and off all day.

Seal Your Windows and Doors

Your doors and windows do a great job of keeping heat inside and cold outside, but only if they're sealed properly. Look for cracks and small holes around your windows and doors, and caulk them as needed. In addition, be on the lookout for worn, cracked, or otherwise damaged weatherstripping. Exposure to the elements and the force of being opened and closed a multitude of times can cause weatherstripping to wear out over time.

Luckily, you can purchase new weatherstripping for an affordable price at your favorite home improvement store. Cutting the weatherstripping to size and applying it to your doors and windows is a reasonably easy DIY task, or you can always hire a repair professional to handle this for you.

Don't Forget Your Chimney

If you have a wood-burning fireplace, those cozy nights by the fire are probably not very energy efficient. In fact, an estimated 80-90% of heat from your fireplace is actually lost through your chimney. To combat this, make sure your damper is tightly closed whenever your fireplace is not in use.

You should also have your fireplace and chimney inspected each year. The chimney professional will be able to clean out any debris and make sure your damper has not worn out over time.

Try Window Film

According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, approximately one third of a home's heat loss occurs through windows and doors. One easy and affordable way to combat heat loss from your windows is by adding clear window film to them each winter. This can be purchased at any major home improvement store and cut to size in order to perfectly fit your window.

Most window film requires you to seal it with a warm blast from a hairdryer, which also eliminates any wrinkles in the film. Window film is virtually unnoticeable once applied but helps keep heat inside your home where it belongs.

By adding these habits and minor tasks to your routine this winter, you can enjoy a cozy, warm house without dealing with major sticker shock whenever you open your bills.

For more information or to schedule maintenance, talk with local HVAC contractors in your area, such as those at Allied Air Conditioning & Heating Corp.