Heating the air and water in the average home is very energy intensive, making up a large percentage of a typical utility bill. With today's skyrocketing energy costs, Coloradans are looking for ways to save on home heating costs.
When systems are not maintained or used in the optimal way, it can end up wasting a lot of energy and money. Here are some cost-effective ways you can maximize your energy savings around the home during the winter months – and year round.
Tank-style water heaters have to constantly heat a large volume of water. An inexpensive way to help the water heater work more efficiently is to cover the tank with an insulated water heater blanket. While you may not notice much heat when placing your hand on the tank surface, the amount of heat that escapes over the the entire surface is significant enought to make the cover a good investment. When installing the blanket be sure to follow the manufacturers instructions.
Over time, naturally occuring minerals in the water can accumulate at the bottom of the water heater tank. The more residue at the bottom of the tank, the longer the heating element needs to remain on to heat the tank. The solution is to drain and flush the water heater tank on a regular basis to remove the sediment build-up. The frequency of how often you should flush your water heater tank will vary depending on how hard your home's water is. If you have to clean your shower heads more than once a year, for example, we recommend flushing your water heater tank annually. Grand Lake Plumbing & Heating can help perform water heater maintenance if needed.
In the typical household bathing uses the most hot water. To reduce hot water usage low-flow shower heads are an inexpensive way to save significantly on hot water costs. Laundry is another task that uses a lot of hot water. Newer laundry detegents have been formulated to clean more effectively with cold water. Give these detergents a try and see if you can clean laundry with cold water.
Is your water heater more than ten year old? It may be time to replace it with a more efficient model. When shopping for a new water heater be sure to check the EnergyStar® label. It will show you how much energy you can expect to spend annually based on average water usage and utility rates. The purchase of a new water heater that is more efficent may allow you to quickly recover the cost of replacing an older, less efficent unit.
If you find that your household is running out of water too frequently, consider a tankless water heater. Tankless or "on demand" water heaters heat water only when it's needed, significantly reducing water heating costs.
Even if your home has the newest, most efficient furnace that money can buy, if your home is poorly insulated and leaking air, it's still going to end up wasting energy and costing you money. Take a look up in your attic and make sure that it's sufficiently insulated. Replace worn out weatherstripping around windows and doors. A little bit of work insualting your home will not only make you more comforable, it will improve heating efficeincy, regardless of the age of your furnace.
Before the cold weather arrives, have Grand Lake Plumbing & Heating tune-up your furnace. A poorly maintained furnace will operate less efficiently, will break down more ofen and will need replacement sooner than a unit that undergoes annual heating system maintainece. Also, remember to regularly replace your furnace filter. A clean filter will improve efficiency and prevent wear and tear on your furnace from dirt and grime.
While many homes have programmable thermostats, it's suprising how few people actually take the time to set the thermostat to match the household routine. Programming the thermostat to warm the home in the morning and turn down the heat when your asleep or away from home can greatly reduce heating and cooling costs.
Smart therostats, such as the Nest® and Ecobee®, provide a great advantage over traditional programmable thermostats – they learn a household's routine and automatically and adjust the temperature acccordingly to maximize efficiency – with little to no effort.
Ceiling fans are often thought of appliances that are used in hot climates to cool the air, but they can be just as useful in cold weather. Reversing the diretion of the fan in the winter will circulate the warm air from the ceiling to living space below, making you more comfortable without having the turn up the heat.