Colorado winters are unpredictable. Temperatures can swing over a 100-degree range in January and February, and while playing a round of golf on Valentine’s Day isn’t unheard of, you can be assured that there will be bone-chilling periods, too.
With energy costs predicted to rise between 8 and 18 percent this season depending on how you neat your home, it makes a lot of sense to look at ways to save on your heating bills.
Here are some simple, inexpensive ways to do it:
Have Your Furnace or Boiler Checked by a Pro
If your equipment isn’t working properly, you’ll fight a losing battle with energy costs. Heating and air conditioning companies will inspect and clean your furnace or boiler to make sure it’s working safely and efficiently. The cost is usually under $100 and will likely save you that much or more over the course of a heating season as well as pointing out potential hazards such as carbon monoxide leaks.
Change Filters Regularly
A pro will change or clean furnace filters during a service call, but for optimum efficiency, they should be changed every few months—year-round if you also have central air conditioning. Be sure to use the size and type of filter recommended for your system and learn how to install them properly or they won’t do the job. While you’re at it, make sure your registers are set properly, clean, and not blocked by furniture or drapery.
Install a Programmable Thermostat
Lowering your heat when you’re away or asleep is an easy way to save on energy bills, and programmable thermostats make it simple. Even basic models let you set it and forget it, and “smart” thermostats let you do it remotely from your phone or computer. That’s an especially handy feature for people with irregular schedules. Some can even learn on their own. Many are DIY installations, but all involve electrical connections, so if you’re unfamiliar or uncomfortable working with electricity, call a licensed electrician. They only work when installed properly.
If you’re confused by all the choices, this thermostat buying guide from Consumer Reports may help.
Seal Air Leaks
Even a well-operating heating system won’t prevent uncomfortable energy-wasting drafts and leaks. Weatherproofing windows and doors with weatherstripping, caulk, or expandable foam and making sure attic insulation is covering joints and other points of infiltration will add comfort and savings. And don’t overlook your basement or crawl space. DIY-ers can turn on all the home’s exhaust fans and use an incense stick around doors, windows, and outlets to see if the smoke tries to escape. Or have a pro check with more sophisticated techniques to find and fix places you might overlook.
Add Insulation If Needed
Many older homes are under-insulated, and settling and shifting can happen even in newer structures. Re-insulating exterior walls can be expensive, but adding insulation to accessible spots like attics, basements,and crawl spaces is a project many homeowners can do themselves. If your floors or ceilings seem cold or drafty, adding insulation may be the solution. This article from Colorado State University Extension has recommendations for insulation and tips on installing it properly.
These simple tips will go a long way toward making your home more comfortable and energy-efficient year-round. And if you need help installing a thermostat or any other electrical services, the pros at Allstar Electrical Services are ready to serve. Just give us a call at (303) 399-7420 or visit our website. Then use our handy on-line forms to request an estimate or set up an appointment.