Heating costs in the winter can be astronomically high for some regions, depending on the cost of power and the climate that they are exposed to. Such costs represent a continuous running expense that could be better spent on other commodities, as well as representing an inefficient and unsustainable use of energy. If you want to reduce your carbon footprint and your energy bill at the same time, there are a few simple and effective steps that you can take.
Programmable thermostats are high tech alternatives to regular thermostats that can be programmed to heat the home to a certain temperature at certain hours. This means that you can set your furnace to reduce the temperature of your home while you're at work or sleeping, and have it warm the house up in time for when you'll be home. This prevents the use of energy for heat that no one will take advantage of and cut down on your overall usage without making your home overly cold. The moderate initial cost of a programmable thermostat and installation are quickly offset by the energy savings that they will bring you in the long run.
Winterize Your Windows
Windows are a major source of heat loss in most homes because of improper insulation or installation. Before the winter hits, you should check your windows and their weather stripping for any gaps or openings and seal them up with caulking or new weather stripping as soon as possible. Windows more than a decade old can also be replaced with newer windows, which are designed to leak less heat out of your home.
Clear Vents and Ducts
Make sure that all the heating vents and radiators in your home are not blocked by furniture or obstacles. This prevents heat from circulating throughout your home and your thermostat from reading it, causing your furnace to continue to produce heat even when it doesn't need to. Getting your ductwork cleaned can also help, by decreasing the amount of heat that is lost in your ducts before it reaches the living spaces of your home.
Get a professional HVAC contractor to examine your insulation and see if there are any leaks. Many homes have either gaps in their insulation or even insufficient material to trap heat inside. In order to mitigate this heat loss, which can be especially costly in the attic and roof, since heat rises, you should install new insulation either over or in place of the already existing insulation. However, be sure to only install insulation where the contractor finds heat loss, as otherwise you'll be spending money for no real benefit. For more information, contact a professional such as Nathan's Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc.