Nothing impacts your energy use—and therefore, your utility bill—more than the weather. Specifically, the outside air temperature.
But even though cold, winter weather is rolling into our area, you don’t have to be at the mercy of mother nature when it comes to home heating costs.
According to Huntsville Utilities, there are many simple things you can do to prepare your home for cold weather.
The simplest? Reverse the direction on your ceiling fans. Your fans should spin clockwise and at a slower speed to pull the air upwards. Most ceiling fans have a switch right below the blades that sets the direction.
Next, check for drafts around your windows and doors. Hot air will always try to go to cold when it can, and leaks make that too easy. You can typically detect a draft by feeling around the door or window with your hands, but you can also hold a candle near the frame to see if it flickers. Use caulk or weatherstripping to seal up the leaks (silicone caulk works best as it is less affected by temperatures). Install storm windows if you have them.
Similarly, how’s your insulation? Having an adequate amount keeps the warm air in. If you’re not sure how much is enough or what kind to buy, check out this guide from Energy Star.
Have a qualified technician check out your heating system to make sure it’s working properly and remember to change out your filters once a month. The cleaner the filter, the more efficiently your unit will run.
Don’t forget about your pipes. Disconnect your hoses from outdoor spigots to prevent freezing and bursting. And on the inside, wrap pipe insulation on any exposed copper or PVC pipe under sinks, in attics, and crawl spaces. It costs as little as 50 cents per foot. If you have a lawn sprinkler system, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for prepping it for winter.
If you have a fireplace, get the chimney inspected and cleaned. Over 25,000 chimney fires occur each year.
You can find these and other money saving tips on the Smart Consumer Tips page of Huntsville Utilities website, and follow Huntsville Utilities on social media all year long for more energy efficiency information.
Remember, you can monitor your home’s electric usage through the My Account section of the website. This video shows you how.
Huntsville Utilities has an award-winning web show called HUTV: Huntsville Utilities Television. The program takes a deeper dive into these and other utility-related topics.