Here’s are some energy-saving tips, as winter is just around the corner:
Check caulking around windows and doorframes for leaks and fill them. Inspect seals around doors and windows and add new weather stripping as necessary — if you can slide a dollar bill easily through the gap you are losing heat, energy and money. Think about it: a little crack all the way around a window or a door equals a 3- or 4-inch hole in your wall.
Consider adding insulation and/or increasing R-value to recommended levels. This can be a relatively small chore or a large one that requires outside help, depending on the nature of your building.
Change, or clean if reusable, your HVAC system’s air filters regularly. These filters often cost as little as $2 each but a dirty filter can waste up to $5 per month in energy. In addition to higher operating expenses, dirty filters increase resistance, causing equipment to work harder, possibly leading to premature failure. The cheap $1 or $2 filters are only good for a month. Consider buying the three-month filters and set a reminder to replace them.
Install programmable thermostats to automate your HVAC system. Modern solid-state electronic programmable thermostats can optimize HVAC operations 24/7, based on your needs. A “smart thermostat”; can turn on the HVAC before you arrive and off after you leave, instead of heating or cooling all night or on weekends. These thermostats cost between $25 and $300 but can cut HVAC costs by up to 30 percent. For every 1 degree your thermostat is turned back for 8 hours a day saves you 3% on your monthly utility bill.
Are your water heater and pipes insulated? Insulation will decrease your energy consumption and may even allow you to turn the temperature back and still maintain comfortable water temperatures at points of use, such as faucets and showers. If your water heater is an older, uninsulated unit, consider adding a water heater blanket to prevent heat loss from the tank.
Use the sun to your advantage! During the heating season, with the sun low in the south, open or uncover unobstructed southern windows to increase the interior temperature, and close them at night to help retain the warmth.
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