The prospects of wintertime electricity bills inevitably bring a slight chill to the marrow of every homeowner. However busy you may have been landscaping your garden, cleaning the gutters, painting the walls and overhauling old furnishings, freezing temperatures have a tendency of spoiling all the hard work and pushing your financial limits to unprecedented lows. Do not let the approaching cold weather prevent you from enjoying the comfort of your home â€“ and the perks of your family budget: follow these tips on how to weatherproof your house and minimize electricity bills in the season ahead.
Heads-up: Heating system tune-ups
Over time, efficiency of heating and HVAC systems tends to drop, which is why you should have them tuned up while the weather is still moderate. Though most homeowners loathe additional investments and unwarranted contractors prowling the property, consider the savings you will be making in the course of the winter months by having your HVAC checked and adjusted once a year. A fine-tuned heating system may reduce electricity bill by as many as 10-20 percent, while a complete system replacement may down long-term heating costs by 15-25 percent.
Seal at the seams: Insulation upgrades
To prevent heat from escaping through the cracks, seal all the openings such as cable TV holes, plumbing and leaky ducts. That done, check the door and window area and fill the gaps using an adhesive seal tape and consider internally insulating the walls if the existing external insulation is poor. Attic insulation is another money-saving option for owners eager to weatherproof their homes, and you can also cover the basement if you want to stay on the safe side. Costs of a comprehensive house insulation project may be off-putting, but the investment will pay off many times over in the long run as your home will no longer leak heat like a sieve and you will be able to stay warm indoors without bleeding money on electricity bills.
Soak it in: Check the water heater
Another common phantom energy leak in most households, an outdated water heater can up electricity costs by as many as 10-30 percent. If you have not examined the heater in the past few years, now is the perfect time to check it. If the valves are old and leaking, replace them with new components available from reliable suppliers like SpeedGas. Regular water heater maintenance can both reduce energy bills and prevent potential valve-related problems such as over- or under-pressurizing. Both energy and water are indispensible utilities, but you do not want them to collide: the outcome of accidents involving appliances that feature both liquids and electricity can be fatal.
Look out: Install energy-saving windows
If your home is relatively new, you probably already have double or triple glazed windows for a wintertime savings ally. If, however, the windows are single glazed, you are probably leaking heat without knowing, so you may want to consider a window-ware upgrade before temperatures drop and fierce winter winds come knocking on the panes. Double-glazed windows trap the air between the panes and prevent loss of heat, reducing the heating costs by up to 20 percent depending on the number, state and size of existing windows.
Tweak it: Smart thermostats
However efficient your HVAC system may be, coming back to a chilly home after work is a rather grim prospect. If you are not eager to wait an hour or so for warmth to kick in and spread through all the rooms after you have switched on the heating system, get a programmable thermostat. Designed to control indoor temperature during the day, a smart thermostat allows you to customize the periods of lower temperature instead of maintaining constant warmth levels 24/7. A programmable thermostat can reduce energy consumption during the intervals when you are not at home and cut heating costs by as many as 10-20 percent.
Ready or not, winter is coming â€“ and the weather forecast experts say it will be a harsh one too, so make sure your home is frost- and wind-proof before the first snowfall. Every investment you make now will pay off soon, for bitter winters are definitely not a force to be reckoned with.
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