How to Cut Your Energy Costs During Colder Weather

October 13, 2017

woman in chair

Heating your home during the colder months means higher bills during the winter. We’ve rounded up simple tips to help you lower your energy bill all season long without sacrificing comfort.

Why Change Your Furnace Air Filter?

Ideally, you should replace your air filter once a month to help maintain optimal airflow for energy efficiency. As the air filter gets dirty it begins to impede air flow causing your furnace fan to work harder, and a harder-working fan places more stress on parts and uses more energy. One part of the unit has coils that are extremely susceptible to dust, hair and the tiniest fragments. Not using a filter can damage these coils and thus the entire unit; costing you a lot of money down the road. Also, make sure to schedule annual preventative maintenance to keep heating equipment clean and in good working condition. A well-maintained furnace consumes less energy than a neglected one.

Seal Air Leaks

This winterization measure keeps bitter winter winds from sneaking inside. With fewer air leaks, your home will be more comfortable and energy efficient. Caulk and weatherstripping are your best tools for sealing air leaks around windows, doors and various exposures in exterior walls.

Recommended Caulking Technique

Before caulking, you should close up the house as much as possible so you’re not getting a draft from another place. A simple technique to check for leaks is lighting a candle and moving it slowly around every window and around decorative interior molding. If the flame bends, air is leaking around your windows.

After cleaning up the area and the old caulk from your windows, you’re ready to start with the new caulk. Select a caulk color that matches your siding and exterior window trim. Start at the back of your home and work your way around, so as your skill develops, the appearance improves.

  • Cut the tube tip at a 45-degree angle.
  • Use a sharp tool (awl, nail) to puncture the seal inside the tip.
  • Load the tube in a caulking gun.
  • Hold the caulking gun at a 45-degree angle when squeezing the handle.
  • Move in slow, smooth motions along the seam between the window trim and siding.

Run Appliances Sparingly

Your dishwasher and washing machine are hot-water-hogs. You can save more energy by making sure you only run full loads. This is something you could practice year-round to stay efficient and keep costs down. For laundry, reserve hot water washes for whites, bedding and towels. Everything else will clean just fine in warm or even cold water. You can also use the moisture-detection setting on your dryer to prevent over drying clothing and wasting energy.

Unplug Unnecessary Electronics

Think about how many electronic devices around your home that you don’t use on a regular basis or for a majority of the day. TVs, computers, monitors, game consoles, cellphones and laptop chargers, routers and modems drain energy even when they're not in use. Unplug any gadgets with a power adaptor when they're not in use to cut your energy bill and save money.

Heat Your Home Wisely

On days with clear skies, open those sun-facing curtains and let the sun provide a little solar heat inside of your home. If the added natural heat keeps your furnace from running as long as usual, you'll be saving dollars on your energy bill. As the sun shifts throughout the day or at night after the sun goes down, make sure you close the drapes or curtains to provide a layer of insulation.

Get a Professional Furnace Tune-Up

Furnace tune-ups accomplish two main purposes. They keep your furnace running efficiently and safely, and they also identify issues before they become big problems. These simple tips will help you avoid high energy bills and keep you comfortable all heating season long. For more tips and ideas to lower energy costs, or any questions you may have about your HVAC system, please contact Lozier Heating and Cooling. We've been serving the Greater Des Moines area for over 100 years. Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater Des Moines, Iowa area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).