Fall is in the air. Halloween decorations are starting to blossom in your neighbor’s front yard, and the chores and maintenance involved with transitioning from fall to winter are upon us. This is a critical time to make sure you winterize your home to prevent being haunted by ghoulish repair bills. While you are at it, below are ten great fall tips to winterize your home and at the same time, save yourself money. RIP broken pipes, cold nights, and lots of gripes!
1. Run your ceiling fans in reverse.
When you think of ceiling fans, you think of a gentle cool breeze in the summertime to keep you cool. Many ceiling fans come with a handy feature that reverses the direction of the blades. Standard counterclockwise rotation produces a cool breeze, but if you switch the rotation, clockwise, you will notice warmer air. This is because of the fact that warm air rises, pooling near the ceiling, and when you run your fan clockwise, it pushes the warm air back down into your living space, cutting your heating costs as much as 10%!
2. Winterize your exterior water lines.
Once the first frost comes and goes, it is good practice to disconnect and store all hoses from your exterior water spigots and stow them in a garage or shed for the winter. Not only will this extend the life of your hoses for years to come, but it will also prevent interior pipes from bursting, potentially costing you thousands of dollars.
Blowing out sprinkler lines annually will prevent underground lines from bursting and costing you additional dollars in the spring when its time to get that lawn green. If you do not have the appropriate tools to get the job done (Air Compressor), hiring a licensed and insured professional that will warranty their winterization work is always a smart decision.
3. Turn down your water heater.
Most conventional water heaters are set at 140 degrees F by installers; however, most households don’t require that high of a setting, but you will still be paying for it. Lowering the temp to 120 degrees F or lower can reduce your water heating costs by 6% to 10%!
If you are in the market for a new water heater, consider a tankless water heater. Research state and government tax credits are available to reduce initial costs to begin your savings sooner.
4. Heating System Tune-Up
Just as your car has regular maintenance, so should your heating system. Maintaining a clean, lubricated, and tuned furnace will help reduce energy costs up to 5%. Contact your contractor early before the heating season kicks in to take advantage of “pre-season check-ups” for additional savings.
5. Upgrade your Heating System
If your furnace is ten years or older, your efficiency rating is most likely not where you would want it to be. With modern, variable speed furnace technology, you will save 15% to 20% on your energy bill annually. If your furnace is 20 years or older, you could be saving as much as 50% of your energy bill with an energy-efficient upgrade.
6. Thermostat Adjustments
By simply turning down your thermostat when you are not home, or sleeping is one of the surest ways to save money on energy bills. Most households pay anywhere from 50% to 70% of their energy budgets to heating and cooling. So, why pay for it if you aren’t there to use it? For every one degree you turn down on your thermostat, you save 1% to 3% on your heating bill. If remembering to do this daily isn’t your thing, think about purchasing a programmable thermostat.
7. Sweater Season!
A light, a long-sleeved sweater is worth about two degrees of added warmth while a heavy sweater can add about four degrees. So bundle up, turn down that thermostat and start saving right now!
8. Ductwork inspection
The ductwork is a part of every home’s infrastructure. Ductwork helps circulate air through your house, and studies show that anywhere from 10% to 30% of heated (or cooled) air leaks through your ductwork on average.
Hiring a trained professional to inspect your ductwork and fix any potential leaks can save your home up to 140 dollars annually, according to the American Solar Energy Society. Not only will this save you money, but it will protect you and your family against allergens.
9. Insulate Your Pipes
Pay less for your heated water by insulating your pipes, which can also decrease their chance of freezing. A frozen burst pipe could cost you potentially thousands of dollars in damage and repair. You can get pre-slit pipe foam or insulation tape specifically for pipe insulation from your local hardware store.
10. Choose a trusted, professional contractor.
If you are taking on a project to help reduce energy costs, first determine if the job is right for you or a trained professional. If you want to leave it to the pros, do a little research so you know whom you can trust, putting your home in their hands. Basic research keys are to verify they are certified, trained, background checked, drug tested, and carry an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. These questions can be answered by the company immediately once calling. If not, it’s time to move on to one that can.