Fall is here, the trees are losing their leaves, the clouds are rolling in, and the days (and nights) are extra crisp. But one thing that will probably not drop this season is your electricity bill, because it’s time to move from keeping your house cool to warming it up throughout the day — and night.
Stream Energy has experts on keeping costs down. They offer discount energy to people in Texas, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio, Georgia, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, and even Washington, D.C. Stream can’t go into your home and help you shore up your house against high fall bills, so read on and familiarize yourself with the best tips to warm your house or apartment without a massive bill.
Here’s what you need to do:
Find those drafts and seal them
In the summer, drafts are not a problem. After all, air flowing in from windows and under doors may actually feel…refreshing. In the fall, a drafty door or window can mean big bills, because that cool air might just push you to keep your heat on for longer than you need to.
In fact, heat is a huge part of your electric bill in the fall — as high as 45% in some areas. And according to some statistics, a 1/8th gap under a door that’s just 36-inches wide can let in the same amount of cold air as a 2 ½ inch diameter hole.
For the bottom of doors with large cracks, buy some weather stripping and use it to narrow the gap. For windows, it’s time to caulk and seal. Caulk works well for a certain amount of time, but begins to wear down over long stretches. You may need to get out the caulking gun for the cracks around windows or many other areas where different types of housing materials come together.
Maintain your fireplace
If your home, condo or apartment has a fireplace, chances are you don’t use it 24/7. For many people, a fireplace is something only to be used at night, when guests come over, or even just around Christmas time. For these reasons, keeping your fireplace flue — also known as a damper — closed when you’re not using it, is extremely important. Many fireplaces offer huge openings to let in streams of cold air. By closing the flue when you’re not using the fireplace, you’ll keep the temperature up in your home.
Check and replace your HVAC filters
If you’re like many homeowners or renters, checking the HVAC filter for your heater or air conditioning is merely an afterthought. Unfortunately, a dirty HVAC filter on a heater delivers far less heat and has to work 2X as hard — or more — to keep your home at an adequate temperature. With a dirty filter, you’re also prone to dust particles, allergens and more — the things you don’t want circulating throughout your home during cold (or hot) weather.
So, if possible, before it even starts to get a little chilly, make a sweep of your HVAC filters in your home. Replace the dirty ones. If it helps you remember, subscribe to a service that delivers filters — or replaces them — on a periodic basis.
Keep shades or blinds open during the day
Even during chilly temps, south-facing windows may capture a lot of heat from the sun. It may be cold outside, but sunlight through windows can heat up your home in a big way. Before you leave for your workday or to run errands, open up the curtains on south-facing windows. Roll up those blinds.
As you go about your day outside the home, sun rays will slowly warm up your living areas. When you arrive home, close the curtains and blinds to preserve the heat that came in during the day. You may not even need to turn the heater on!
Change the direction of your ceiling fans
Have ceiling fans? Here’s how they work. In the summer, they push hot air up toward the ceiling and push cool air down. What most people don’t know is that the opposite happens when you reverse the direction of your ceiling fans! This fall, change the direction of your ceiling fans. By changing the direction, the hot air will fall down toward the ground, heating the room. The cold air will stay near the ceiling, and you won’t even know it’s there.
Set your thermostat to the right temperature
One of the biggest ways to reduce big energy bills is to set your thermostat to the right temperature. In fact, if you’d like to save as much as 10% on heating costs, stick with this advice from the Department of Energy: set your thermostat back between 7 and 10 degrees for at least 8 hours per day and you’ll save! So, what’s the optimal temperature for home during cool weather? 68 degrees. Your heater will not need to work as hard, and you can count on having moderate temperatures in your home without breaking the bank.
Do you have the right thermostat to hold the line? Many older thermostats do a just-okay job keeping the right temperature. Smart thermostats, on the other hand, are far more sophisticated, and can even be controlled by your smartphone or other device so you can control temperatures from anywhere you use your android, iPhone, or other cellular.
To save money on your energy bill, you’ll need to take an all hands on deck approach that covers everything from windows to thermostat. You’ll probably endure a good four or five months at cooler (or cold) temperatures, so make plans now to shore up your living spaces without boosting your bill!