Winter is coming! Although San Antonio winters are generally cool and mild (Our most recent February bitter cold blast notwithstanding), chilly evenings and prolonged periods of cold weather can raise your heating bills in unwelcome ways, and in some cases cause discomfort or dangerous conditions.
Fortunately, there are many things you can do to lower your heating costs and keep your home comfortably warm. Best of all, these same tips can help you control your cooling costs through the long summer to follow! Below, we’ve listed some of the most effective ways to reduce your heating and cooling costs in San Antonio.
Drafts and energy leaks can dramatically impact the temperature of your house. Weatherstripping closes gaps around windows and doors, which can stop or at least slow down those drafts and energy leaks. You may not need to weatherstrip every year, but you should at least check your weatherstripping annually.
When inspecting old weatherstripping, look for cracks, gaps and deterioration. When you shut a door or close a window, the weatherstripping should fill the gaps and compress slightly. Weatherstripping should not make a door or window difficult to close.
Weatherstripping can be done as a DIY project, or you can have a contractor do it for you. If you’re going to weatherstrip yourself, follow these tips found on energy.gov:
- Apply weatherstripping to clean, dry surfaces.
- Choose weatherstripping with care – there are many products on the market, and not all weatherstripping is appropriate for all parts of the house.
- Weatherstrip your door jamb. Replace the rubber strip at the bottom of your exterior doors.
- Stripping should be continuous on each side of the door or window. Each strip should meet tightly at the corners.
Insulation is another way to mitigate energy leaks and control the air temperature in your home. Modern homes are built with a tight building envelope and excellent insulation, but older homes often lack adequate insulation, which leads to loss of warm air.
This lack of insulation causes the HVAC system to work longer and harder than it might otherwise have to work, which leads to increased heating and cooling costs.
Insulating after a home is built can be a challenge, as most insulation is built into the walls. However, many homes have unfinished attics, where insulation is easier to install. You can insulate your attic yourself, or hire a contractor to do it for you.
Not sure if your attic needs more insulation? Pop your head into your attic space. As a general rule, the insulation should cover the floor joists. If you can see the floor joists, then your attic may need more insulation.
Use a Programmable (or Smart) Thermostat
Many homeowners keep their thermostat on at the same temperature, regardless of the time of day. Programmable thermostats allow homeowners to raise or lower the temperature of the house automatically. This helps homeowners consume less energy at times of day when people are sleeping or not at home.
Smart thermostats function like programmable thermostats, but some models offer impressive energy-saving innovations. For example, some smart thermostats are able to detect when the house is empty. The thermostat reduces energy usage when homeowners are away, and then returns the house to a comfortable temperature when homeowners are coming home. You don’t have to replace your home’s entire HVAC system to get a new thermostat. Talk to your HVAC installer to have your thermostat replaced. You can pick the thermostat that works for your budget.
Maintain Your HVAC System
Most HVAC systems lose efficiency over time. Tune-ups help prevent HVAC systems from losing efficiency. During the tune-up, your HVAC installer will clean the parts, replace the filter and make repair recommendations that can all help your HVAC system function more efficiently.
Replace Outdated HVAC Equipment
The older your HVAC equipment gets, the more inefficient it will become. Meanwhile, the HVAC industry is constantly improving HVAC appliances to ensure that air conditioners and heaters are as efficient as possible. Replacing outdated HVAC equipment can help keep your HVAC energy usage at a minimum.
Air conditioning systems generally last 12 to 17 years, while furnaces can go 20 to 30 years. If your air conditioner or furnace is nearing the end of its service life, talk to your HVAC professional about replacement. With new equipment, you’ll enjoy significant energy savings.
Time for Your HVAC Tune-Up? Schedule Yours Today
Fall is a time when many homeowners schedule their HVAC tune-up. To schedule your HVAC tune-up in San Antonio, call Northeast Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing to schedule yours today!