No one wants high energy bills during any time of the year. Summer and winter, however, see the highest energy bills of the year. Alabama’s average monthly energy bill for homes is about $147 (as of 2021) but most households in the Decatur area will see higher costs when using the AC or of course, the heat.
The good news is that there are cheap ways to conserve your heat during the cooler months. Here are some easy ways to make your furnace or boiler work better for you.
Get or Use a Programmable Thermostat. These thermostats aren’t that expensive and allow you to program times when the heat should work harder, and times where you can tolerate lower temperatures, such as when you’re at work or sleeping. This way, you won’t forget to adjust your thermostat manually every time you go out or go to bed. Programmable thermostats work well with furnaces but avoid using them with heat pumps.
Use Fans with High Ceilings. Warmer air rises, and in rooms with high ceilings, this can cause the cooler air to pool where you’re spending time. Using fans to push back down that warmer air will cause your heating system to kick on less, saving you money.
Unblock Vents. It’s never a good idea to obstruct a vent, for multiple reasons, unless you’re cutting off heating and cooling to a certain area of your home to save money. But be careful: blocking air flow can make your HVAC unit work less efficiently, raising your energy bill and putting more strain on components such as the heat exchanger. This can eventually lead to a very expensive repair.
Blocking vents can also cause some rooms to be colder than others and can even cause a fire hazard and other damage to furniture if left for too long.
Fight Back Against the Physics of a Draft. Drafty doors and windows don’t just leak cool air into your home. Cool air naturally gets drawn to warmer areas as hot air rises and cooler air rushes in to take its place. This law makes these leaks an easy way for the chilly outdoors to invade.
Seal any cracks under doors and around windows, and to plug drafts under doors, use a simple rice bag across the opening, which you can make at home. Closing doors that lead to upper levels of your home will also prevent the “chimney effect” that will leak warmer air upwards.
Door sweeps are another option for keeping out the chill, and only require a few nails to install.
Use Windows Wisely. By letting in sunshine during the cooler months, you’ll help to heat your home naturally, and cut down on your furnace use. You can also place plastic window film over any windows with drafts. The dead air will act as an insulator, but the clear plastic will still allow heat to come into your home.
Minimize Fireplace Use. Fires are nice but using them often will suck air—and heat—out of your home. Cooler air will then rush in to replace the air that’s lost, as fires consume oxygen.
If you want to still enjoy your fireplace, fireplace doors can help to minimize the loss of air. However, they can cost a few hundred dollars.
We’re Here to Help You Save. If you have questions on how to save big on your energy bill, or wish to upgrade your thermostat in Decatur, AL and beyond, look no further. Contact us at Southeastern Mechanical Services today.