Opening a heating bill in the middle of a cold Pennsylvania winter is enough to make a homeowner shudder — and not just because it’s chilly. Escalating home energy costs will send a shiver down the spine of any property owner, especially if they haven’t taken the appropriate steps to minimize their energy consumption. When you consider that the average low winter temperature in Pennsylvania is below the freezing mark, you can’t afford to put up with a cold, drafty home that will put a strain on your household budget.
What Can You Do to Keep Your Heating Costs in PA Under Control?
Use the following tips from Haller Enterprises, Inc. to help you create a warmer home that will result in lower energy costs during the winter and throughout the year. These tips encompass your heating/cooling system and other potential energy-wasting areas in and around your house:
- Install/upgrade weather stripping – Does your home have old and worn weather stripping around your windows and doors or no weather stripping at all? Installing or replacing weather stripping is an easy, affordable way to prevent drafts and keep the warm air inside your home. The combination of weather stripping and caulking around leaky windows could reduce your home’s heat loss considerably, which will make a noticeable difference in your energy costs.
- Plug gaps in exterior walls – Areas where gas and electric lines enter your home can contain gaps that allow cold air in and heated air out. Check these entry points for gaps or holes and plug any you find with expanding foam instead of caulk. The foam will form an impenetrable seal and prevent leakage.
- Avoid heating unused rooms – Take a quick mental inventory of your home. Are there rooms you hardly ever use? Examples can include a guest bedroom, sewing room, basement bathroom, formal dining room or storage area. Why waste energy heating these rooms if they’re unoccupied? Closing off and sealing the vents will redirect the warm airflow to where you need it. You can always reopen the vents later if you want to use the room.
- Use space heaters in populated areas of your home – You can also use space heaters in the rooms where your family gathers. This will allow you to turn down the furnace without sacrificing comfort. Although space heaters consume electricity, you should experience an overall reduction in your home energy costs by keeping your heating system at a lower temperature.
- Harness the free heat from the sun – There’s a natural heating system outside your home — and you can access it for free! The sun can serve as a supplemental heat source that can reduce your dependency on your furnace or heat pump. Open the curtains or blinds on all south-facing windows during the day to allow the sun’s warming rays to stream inside your home. Just don’t forget to close the curtains at sundown to keep all that warm air inside.
- Lower your thermostat when no one is home and overnight – You don’t need to have your heating system blasting away while you’re at work, so lower the thermostat before you leave. You should also reduce the temperature by 10-15 degrees before you go to bed. If you find that this makes your bedroom too chilly for sleeping, try wearing pajamas or switching to flannel sheets. With the money you’ll save on your energy costs, you’ll be able to afford them!
- Consider installing a programmable thermostat – A programmable thermostat automatically regulates your home’s temperature throughout the day and night based on predetermined settings. This means you don’t have to worry about forgetting to lower the temperature. Switching to a programmable thermostat could lower your annual energy costs by as much as $150. You can purchase one for under $50.
- Use chimney balloons – While a fireplace can create a cozy environment and reduce your reliance on your heating system, it can be an energy-waster when not in use. Even if you keep the flue closed, heated air can still escape through the chimney. An easy, cost-effective solution is to install an inflatable chimney balloon to block the airflow. You can purchase chimney balloons at most home improvement stores or online for less than $50.
- Insulate your attic’s access door – Many homeowners recognize the energy-saving benefits of installing fiberglass insulation in attics, basements and garage walls. A frequently overlooked installation point is the attic’s access door. Placing insulation on the door will door will prevent heated air from escaping into the attic.
- Have your heating system inspected – Your heating system should undergo a comprehensive checkup once a year — preferably in the fall. An experienced, certified HVAC technician will tune up your system and perform a series of maintenance steps to identify potential signs of trouble. A properly maintained heating system will operate more efficiently and reduce your energy costs. You’ll also have fewer worries about your system breaking down in the middle of winter. A competent tech can also determine if you need a full system replacement.
Contact Haller Enterprises for Your Home Heating Needs
A good way to be sure your home is ready for winter, and you’re keeping your PA heating costs down, is to contact the professionals at Haller Enterprises, Inc. — a leading provider of home heating services in Central PA and beyond. We offer a comprehensive maintenance program that will detect and troubleshoot small heating system issues before they become expensive repair problems. Contact us to learn more about our preventative maintenance service today.
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