We all have that one friend. You know, the one who announces they’re wrapping up their holiday shopping right around Labor Day.
Maybe that annoys you. Or maybe it sends a chill up your spine as you realize how little time you have left to get things done. Start getting ready for the “XX days till Christmas” announcements.
By the way, only 359 days left until Christmas come January 1st, sorry!
One thing always rings true; even when the days are warm, cold weather is never far off. You can almost smell the pumpkin spiced “everything” coming. And the real chill you feel may be the cold temperatures as they find their way into your home, fattening your heating bills and putting a chill on the festivities.
About 15-20% of the average American household’s heating costs are lost on leaks throughout the home. That sends chills up my spine for sure. You [might wonder how you can save money on heating costs this winter.
You can begin with having your furnace professionally serviced before the beginning of the fall season. If you skipped service in the fall, it’s not too late. Call now. Not only will you get an experts’ evaluation of your unit, but you can have them give your home a quick once over to determine if you’ve got some trouble areas that are costing you.
What else can you do?
Fortunately for you, we’ve put together a list of the top ways you can help save on your heating costs by identifying places where your energy funds are literally slipping through the cracks in your home.
Cracks in the walls
You probably don’t live in a home where you can see sunlight through the walls (we hope not). But on average, 38% of your home’s heat loss is through cracks in walls, windows, and doors. Air leakage in those areas plus electrical outlets, baseboards, recessed lighting, and ceilings makes heating much less efficient. These types of heat loss go unnoticed because they’re barely perceptible. But they are there silently gobbling your money.
You can purchase a thermal heat detector starting at around $40 and use its infrared capabilities to check for leaks around just about anything. If you can feel or see drafts coming in, you’ve got work to do.
Close Off the Unused Fireplace
When not using the fireplace, close off the chimney, which is a highway for warm air to escape. There are three main options for sealing off a fireplace: A chimney balloon, a rectangular balloon pillow, and a fitted decorative cover.
The chimney balloon seals off the chimney just above the flue or damper. Essentially it acts like a cork in a wine bottle, except the balloon is located close to the flue or damper. A leaky or missing damper can cost you up to 30% on your heating bill.
The rectangular balloon pillow is placed below and right up against the damper. It incorporates an adjustable pole to help keep the pillow pressed up against the damper. Not only will it retain your household heat, but the pillow also provides a barrier for unwanted sound or debris that may come down your chimney.
A fitted decorative cover is placed just behind your fireplace screen and can be customized to fit your décor. There are do-it-yourself decorative fireplace cover instructions out there for a fun fall cost-saving activity.
Seal pull-down staircases
Check pull-down staircases/attic accesses for airflow leaks. Cold air is likely coming in while the warmth of your house is slipping through those cracks. Use a thermal heat detector or a lighter/lit match around the molding to see if any leaks are visible.
A quick way to see leaks is to have your attic light on while turning off the lights below while the access is closed. It’ll be obvious if you can see the light. Light, in this case, means leaks. Some caulk or weather stripping can cut down on airflow in this area.
Adding in wall insulation can be a costly, time-consuming project. But insulating the areas within the walls of the house can make a big difference. Adding heavy drapes and heavy carpet can cut down on window and flooring leaks.
The bigger project of insulating walls with a spray-in cavity filler can be saved for another day if you add these decorative insulating accents to your home.
Check the basement for leaks
If you have a basement, the walls can be a huge drain of heat. 21% of heat loss is through those basement walls, while only about 1% of the heat loss goes through the floor. This is because of the basement walls’ thickness versus the foundational floor, which is likely three times thick.
Adding insulation around the walls or finishing the basement will add layers of heat-saving protection.
Take full advantage of the biggest heater of them all, our sun. Naturally heating your home with the sun’s radiant heat through windows can give the furnace a break while getting your home nice and toasty.
Open and close drapes and curtains as the sun moves around your home throughout the day. Watch your animals; they know how to find warm spots.
Ride that thermostat
Adjust the house’s temperature so you are comfortable during the day, but lower it at night between 10 and 15 degrees to save about 10% on your heating costs. Put all those comforters and blankets you’ve got piled up in the linen closet to use.
That 10% in savings will be worth the effort. A programmable thermostat is a no-brainer as you can have the temperature set to rise in the house in the morning.
Make this fall and winter warm, toasty, and better yet–money saving.
If you’re looking for a home that’s already eco-friendly and inexpensive to heat, give one of our experienced realtors a call at Eng Garcia. We can help you find the warm, toasty, and better yet–money saving house– of your dreams.