As temperatures rapidly fall around your Cleveland-area home, you'll probably become more and more interested in finding ways to lower your utility bills. Here are seven easy and effective ways you can improve your home's energy efficiency in winter or any season, and lower utility bills by a significant amount:
- Seal air and energy leaks: Air leaks can account for substantial losses of conditioned air, energy and money. Locate air leaks around your home, such as in your walls, ceiling, doors, windows, attic and basement. Seal these leaks with caulking or weatherstripping. Use draft blockers under doors. Install storm doors and windows. Make sure all sections of HVAC ductwork fit together tightly and that connections are sealed with mastic or metal tape. If you have never had a Home Performance Assessment conducted in your home, this is a good way to identify leaks that may not be noticeable now.
- Maintain your HVAC system: Schedule professional preventive maintenance for your heating system. This allows a trained technician to inspect and fix your system to allow for maximum efficiency and performance. Make sure to put fresh air filters in your furnace and change them every month (or as specified by the manufacturer) if they get dirty.
- Use natural heating: Open up the curtains and window shades to let more sunlight, a natural and freely available source of warmth. NOTE: If you have triple track windows with screens in them, approximately 25 percent more solar energy will come in through the window if you remove the screen.
- Reduce hot water usage: Limit the amount of time for showers and other cleaning tasks that use hot water. Install low-flow shower heads and plumbing fixtures.
- Turn down the temperature: Keep your home thermostat at 68 degrees or cooler. Set the water heater's thermostat to 120 degrees or lower. You can also save by turning back the temperature when sleeping or when you are away at work or on vacation.
- Shut it off: Turn off lights, appliances, computers, stereos, televisions and other electronic devices when you're not using them. If possible, unplug these items completely to prevent standby power loss. Motion detectors are good to use in areas that are infrequently visited such as basements and attics.
- Increase insulation: Add more insulation in areas that are poorly insulated, then take care of any un-insulated areas such as crawl spaces, basement, and walls. Pay particular attention to attic insulation. Insulate your water heater and the ductwork of your HVAC system where it runs through unheated spaces.
P.K. Wadsworth Heating & Cooling has served the home heating and cooling needs of greater Cleveland's residents for more than 75 years. Contact us today for more information on what you can do to improve your home's energy efficiency and lower utility bills in significant ways.
Paul Wadsworth is the President and Owner of P.K. Wadsworth Heating and Cooling. For 37 years, Paul has been providing heating and cooling services to the Greater Cleveland area. P.K. Wadsworth has been a trusted Cleveland HVAC service company for 75 years. The company understand the area's construction and local heating and air conditioning needs. Paul has an MBA from the University of Michigan and a B.S., Industrial Engineering from Purdue University. He's been President of the Cleveland Air Conditioning Contractors of America and a founding member of the local chapter. Paul was born and raised in Cleveland and has been active in the local community. He resides in Cleveland, Ohio with his wife and two sons.
The opinions and statements contained in this article are for general informational purposes only and are not instructions. Only trained, licensed and experienced personnel should attempt installation/repair. The author assumes no liability for the opinions/statements made in this article. Any individual attempting a repair or installation based on this article does so at their own risk of loss.