Sometimes in Texas we can get blindsided with winter heating costs. High-energy bills in the summer are expected by anyone experienced in DFW air conditioning, but winter occasionally happens as well. We don’t expect it to ever really get cold, but it does. When the cold fronts, however few and far between, come in, it’s best to be prepared to keep down costs.
Sealing Your Home
One easy step in reducing your energy costs is sealing the holes in your house. Some houses have more holes than others, usually the older ones, but almost all have room for improvement. The more air you have coming in, the more air you’re paying to heat. It goes back to what your parents used to tell you when you left that door open, “you wanna heat the whole neighborhood?”
Begin the sealing on the outside. Go to all the windows, door-frames and electrical boxes and apply weather stripping and caulking all around the edges. Don’t worry about trying to find the specific openings, just seal all of it and you’re sure to get the ones that are there. To finish the sealing of your home, head inside and seal all of the same spots. Also, look for any other openings you may have missed.
Improving Your Efficiency
There are many other ways besides sealing openings to improve the efficiency of your home. One method that works in both cold and hot weather is changing your air filters on a regular basis. Once a month is good timing. Pick something that will help you remember: first of the month, last of the month, payday or an alarm or reminder set up on your phone. Whatever you have to do, remember to change your air filters regularly.
There are plenty of other options as well. You can begin running a humidifier. This will increase the heat index in your home and make it feel warmer, allowing you to keep the thermometer down a little. You can also get up in the attic and add insulation. If you find yourself using certain sections of your home more than others, you can practice zoning to cut down on the amount your heater or air conditioner is used.
After doing all of this, you can run tests to see if it’s working. Sites like Energy Star offer online methods of evaluating your home’s energy performance, and ways of improving what you find. Check out www.energystar.gov/homeimprovement to see what they can do for you.
Before taking the next step – improvements – you may want to try some alternative heating methods. One that’s been around since long before energy companies, and bills, is wood. Many homes have fireplaces, and putting some wood in there and lighting it up is not only a good way to reduce energy costs, but also a fun thing to do with your family. If you don’t have a fireplace, you can always buy a good old fashioned wood stove to put somewhere in your house. These methods aren’t quite as common in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, but there are some good solutions out there like the Austin area Woodchuck Delivery. Alternative heating methods could work if you aren’t finding the lower costs you’re looking for.
Air Conditioning and Heater Repair and New Installations
Sometimes preventative measures and old-fashioned methods and tricks don’t do quite enough to lower your bill. At least not while also keeping you warm. You could just turn your heater off, but there are days where you may freeze, even down here in the typically warm DFW. Once you’ve performed all of the above measures, and your energy test is still returning a poor efficiency rating, and you’re still seeing a high energy bill, you may want to begin making some repairs. Have a look through our residential HVAC services, and let us know if we can help you.