Home Heating Efficiency Tips
Stay Cozy While Saving Money This Winter
Looking for ways to keep heating costs under control without spending the winter feeling chilly? The secret is energy efficiency: That means helping your equipment work better, not harder, to produce heat, and setting up your home so that heat isn’t wasted. From no cost, to low cost, to smart investments, we’ve got a slew of home heating efficiency tips and ideas to keep you comfortable and save money this winter.
Free Ways to Save Energy
- Turn down your water heater. Most water heaters have a default setting of 140° but that’s not only dangerous, it’s also inefficient. Reducing the temperature setting to 120° will meet all your hot water needs and save as much as 10% in heating costs. When you consider that heating water—for bathing, dishwashing, laundry and more—accounts for close to 20% of your heating costs, you may want to talk to us about upgrading your water heater to a high-efficiency model that can help you save even more.
- Go solar. We’re not talking about expensive solar panels. We’re talking about free heat from the sun. Leaving curtains and blinds open during the day lets the sun warm your rooms. Closing them at night helps keep the heat in. It can warm your rooms enough that you can lower your thermostat and use your boiler or furnace less.
- Reverse ceiling fans. Switch the direction of your ceiling fan in winter and run it at a low speed. The blades will gently push warm air that rises toward the ceiling back down toward floor level.
Spend a Little, Save a Lot
- Eliminate drafts. Unless you live in a brand-new home, it’s likely that as much as a third of the air in your home escapes via drafts around windows and doors. That’s like throwing money out the window—or door. A weekend of DIY projects, like sealing up drafts with caulking, weatherstripping and expanding foam, can help save you 20% or more on heating costs.
- Change your filter. A dirty air filter can restrict air flow, making your heating equipment work harder to heat your home. That uses more fuel and increases bills. The filter protects your heating equipment from dirt and dust, which helps prevent problems that can lead to a breakdown—and an expensive repair.
- Install a programmable or smart thermostat. Used correctly, a programmable thermostat can help you lower your heating costs by 10% or more. To maximize your savings, set the thermostat for 68° when you’re at home and awake—and layer up with your favorite sweater. Lower the temperature setting by 10° for the hours you’re asleep or out of the house.
- Get a tune-up. It’s never too late to schedule seasonal maintenance for your heating equipment. A tune-up keeps your heating equipment running smoothly, so it will use less fuel to keep your home warm. Our service technicians check for and fix problems that can decrease performance and efficiency, or that could lead to breakdowns, no-heat emergencies, and expensive repairs.
Invest in Efficiency
- It’s the humidity. In summer, we all know the humidity can make the air feel oppressive and warmer than it is. In winter, when running your heating system makes the air in your home feel dry, adding humidity can make it feel more comfortable. It will also make rooms feel just enough warmer that you can lower the thermostat a tad. Room humidifiers are one option, but they require attention and constant refilling. Bolkema installs and repairs whole-house humidifiers and air cleaners from Carrier and Aprilaire that will help you stay comfortable without the fuss.
- Upgrade your heating equipment. Well-maintained systems can last for 20 years, but even with regular maintenance, efficiency declines over time. A new heating system is an investment, but upgrading to new high-efficiency equipment can drastically cut energy costs, while improving your comfort. Bolkema’s pros can help you choose the best equipment for your needs and your budget.
More Ways to Save
We’re always looking for ways to help you keep costs under control—including our budget plan, that spreads your heating costs evenly over 12 months, eliminating those spiking winter bills. We also price protection plan you can sign up for in the fall that locks in your per-gallon price for heating oil. And if you are having trouble with your bills, let us know: we’ll work with you.
Contact us today for information on a tune-up, new equipment, or to schedule a delivery.