15 TIPS FOR THE DIY-ER! PROJECTS FROM FREE TO A FEW BUCKS – YOU SAVE BIG!
We know our winters here in Southeastern North Carolina are not as frigid as many other places, but it is cold enough that we still use our heat pumps and gas systems to warm us up! There are many areas to look in your home for lost heating energy. Don’t be quick to blame your home heating system - it may be working as hard as it can, but just cannot quite combat the loss of warm conditioned air and/or the intrusion of unconditioned cold air.
Let’s get started – pick two, pick a few, or master them all – you win with even 1 of these money saving projects!
- A programmable thermostat makes these tips automatic to maximize on savings:
Adjust your thermostat based on times you are home. Lower the heat setting while gone all day; bring it back up a few degrees upon return. Many people can also comfortably lower their heat setting at night to 66-68 degrees and stay warm in their bed with cozy covers. Going on vacation? Keep your heat on to avoid frozen pipes, but if there aren’t plants and pets in the home that require 70 degrees TURN that thermostat down!
- Use portable heaters only in the room you are occupying and as sparingly as you can. Running a space heater (1,500 watt) every day all day can cost you around $100 per month, per heater!
- It is winter, dress the part! You may be tempted to run around in your bathing suit year round, but wearing your fluffy sweaters, fuzzy soaks and using a throw while lounging in your home allows you to keep the thermostat at a lower degree and still be comfortable!.
- Keep all HVAC supply vents and return vents clear and unobstructed by furniture, rugs and window coverings. Check the direction of your vents, do not adjust vents towards windows or interior walls.
- Open your blinds/shades and let the SUNLIGHT in! Then simply cover the windows when the sun goes down and the outdoor temperature follows.
- When your feet are cold, you feel cold. Place area rugs on uncarpeted surfaces such as wood, tile, concrete, and laminate floors. Also wear your house slippers or fuzzy socks to help keep your feet warm so you may keep your heat setting lower on your thermostat.
- Shut your fireplace flue/damper. If you have glass doors keep those closed as well. You don’t want your nice warmed air to escape through the chimney.
- Is your attic access sealed and air tight? If you do not use your attic space, cover the access tightly with plastic to avoid the cold attic air from seeping into your home. If you use your attic space routinely, use weather stripping to stop any drafts around the access hole.
- Did you just bake dinner or a fabulous desert? Leave the oven door open allowing all that paid for heat to escape into your home as the oven cools down. Is your clothes dryer located in the main living space? Keep the laundry room door open when drying for more heat transfer.
- Use weather stripping on drafty windows or doors. You will see this more in older homes as products used to seal up the windows need to be replaced overtime.
- Spend an afternoon caulking! Just a few hours and a $5 tube of caulk and away you go - seal basement floors, attic floors, crawlspace, cracks in windows, doors or around the exterior of the windows. Also check the HVAC supply ducts, make sure the boot is sealed from inside the attic or from under the home.
- Change air filters regularly, we suggest every 30 days. Clogged air filters can cause your system to strain to pull in air, perform below par while heating, and raise your energy bill in the process!
- Keep ceiling fans on year round? Make sure you use the correct seasonal setting. The blades need to rotate clockwise in the winter to aid in pushing the risen warm air back into the room. When turning counter clockwise there is a constant air flow directly below the fan which will cause you to be cooler, thus causing you to raise your thermostat setting for a warmer temperature, wasting energy.
- Inspect flex duct work for tears and kinks. If you find small tears simply cover with duct tape. Large tears or gaping holes need a professional to repair. If your flex is slightly kinked, it can restrict air flow; gently move the flex and the strap it is suspended by in attempt to release the kink. Missing insulation in attics and unsealed areas in crawlspaces need to be addressed as well.
- If your home has double hung windows check the top portion and make sure it is closed. Many times opening and closing the lower window will cause the upper window to drop down an inch leaving a ‘wide window of opportunity’ to lose your warm air and/or pull in the cold air from outdoors.
- Our One not DIY tip:
Make sure to have your heating and air conditioning system serviced by a professional before the heating and the cooling season, or at a minimum 1 time to per year to make sure it is working at top capabilities and not wasting $$!