How to Lower Your Heating Bill This Winter
Winters in Seattle can be unpredictable but that doesn’t mean your utilities have to be. In fact, there are plenty of measures you can take to keep cozy and warm without breaking the bank. Have we piqued your interest? Keep reading to learn from the Blue Flame pros how to lower your heating bill this winter!
1. Adjust Your Thermostat to the Sun’s Schedule
Even though it may not always seem like it, Seattle still get its fair share of sunshine during the winter months. Utilize these daylight hours for some extra warmth in your home, so you can unburden your heating system. While you open your curtains and shades, lower your thermostat to 68 degrees. When choosing the right settings for your needs, consider this: for each degree you lower your thermostat, you stand to save up to 3% on your heating bill!
2. Inspect Your Home for Air Leaks
Once you’ve programmed your thermostat for optimal savings, it’s time to tackle air leaks. A simple and effective method of detection is holding a lit incense stick to common leak sites. Wherever the smoke wavers is where you have an air leak. To start, check for drafts coming through electrical outlets and switch plates. Then, inspect your door and window frames, baseboards, attic hatches, and recessed lighting fixtures. If you have a wall or window-mounted AC unit, be sure to include it in your inspection. In addition to these common leak sites, be sure to inspect your fireplace dampers. Although you can inspect your home for interior air leaks on your own, we recommend scheduling a professional energy audit to tackle exterior leaks.
*Pro Tip: Seal your chimney flue when it’s not in use to keep heated air inside your home.
3. Defeat Drafts – Seal Those Air Leaks
While you let the pros tackle larger exterior leaks, you can nip minor drafts in the bud with the right materials! We recommend exploring different caulking and weatherstripping options to tackle interior leaks.
For sealing minor air leaks between stationary building parts and materials, caulking will be your best solution. To seal joints between bath and kitchen fixtures or metal joints in plumbing, stick with silicone household caulk. For leaks between building materials like wood, stone, or brick, look for construction-grade silicon caulk. If you detected leaks around window and door frames, water-based foam sealant will be the best material for the job. For older construction, you can also use Butyl rubber caulk to seal leaks around windows and flashing.
Another option for leaks around windows, doors, and movable structures is weatherstripping. Just like caulking, there are different types of weatherstripping material suited for different areas. For sealing leaks inside the track of sliding or double-hung windows, your best bet will be V Strip or tension seal weather strips. These are also effective in sealing air leaks at the top and sides of doors. If you need to seal leaks around a door or window, look for reinforced felt weather strips. In the case of leaks at door or window stops, we recommend using reinforced foam weather strips. Finally, for that pesky draft at the threshold of your doors, you can use a door shoe or threshold strip for a tight seal.
4. Insulate Your Ducts
Did you know that you can lose up to 60% of your heated air before it even reaches your home? This is a result of non-insulated ducts, and they could be costing you a pretty penny! While you can purchase and install your own duct insulation, it may be best to skip the headache and have a pro perform the installation. Regardless of how you go about the installation, the general cost starts at $10, and your overall savings can start at 10% of your energy bill!
5. Change Your Filters
Even though we preach it all the time to our clients, we cannot stress enough how important it is to change your air filters regularly. Clean filters allow for air to flow more efficiently through your heating system and into your home. With better circulation, you will find yourself making fewer trips to the thermostat to crank up the heat. In addition to saving money in the short term, keeping your filters fresh will reduce the strain on your HVAC system and extend its life. Plus, you will breathe easier with cleaner, healthier air.
6. Consider a Thermostat Upgrade
As a long-term solution for savings, you can consider upgrading to a programmable or smart thermostat. Since programmable thermostats have been a popular solution for a while now, we already know that this system can save you up to 20% on your annual energy bill. That being said, a smart thermostat can save you even more! Most models are Wi-Fi compatible, allowing you to adjust your thermostat settings remotely from your smart device. The payoff? No more fretting over whether or not you remembered to turn the thermostat down before leaving for work or vacation! Since we know that to err is human, both of these upgrades promise a substantial return on the initial investment.
Lower Your Heating Bill This Winter with Blue Flame
Now that you have some new tools in your energy saving arsenal, 2020 is shaping up to be a good year! If you are ready to see how you can save year-round, call the pros at Blue Flame. With plenty of energy efficient and eco-friendly options, our team has a lot to offer you in savings and comfort. For solutions tailored to your home needs, visit our site or call us today at (206) 388-5667!