Winter is coming quickly, and that means residents all around Portland are bracing themselves for colder temperatures and longer nights. For some, winter also means sky-high energy bills from keeping your home warm. If you’re one of many homeowners who breaks out into a cold sweat at the thought of your energy bills at the end of the month, we have some good news for you: staying warm is easier and less expensive than you may have ever thought.
Believe it or not, there are several ways you can keep your home warmer and more comfortable all winter long that don’t involve a substantial price tag. In fact, you probably have the ability to save far more than you think with what you already have or with even minor improvements. Here are some helpful tips for saving money while keeping your home heated this winter.
Check Your Weather Stripping & Insulation
Why does it seem like your home is always cold during winter, regardless of how long you run your furnace? The answer is somewhat simple: while your home will eventually lose heat naturally, heat disappears far faster when you have air leaks. Air leaks are tiny places where warm air from inside your home can seep outside unencumbered, causing it to be replaced by cold air from elsewhere. Before you know it, enough air has escaped that you have to turn your furnace back on, burning through more energy and elevating your bills even higher.
Thus, one of the easiest ways to naturally save on your heating bills is to cut off these air leaks and prevent unwanted heat loss. Doing so is simpler than you might think: take some time to check all of the weather stripping around your doors and windows in your home and replace any stripping that’s worn, cracked, brittle, or showing signs of damage. Weather stripping is generally inexpensive to purchase, and replacing or installing it takes just a few minutes of time. However, doing so should help you see a tremendous increase in your heating efficiency.
Use the Power of the Sun
The sun is nature’s heater! While the weather outside may be cold an uninviting, the sun is a giant ball of thermal energy which you could use to keep your home warmer. During daylight hours, consider opening your curtains and blinds to allow as much natural sunlight into your home as you can. Not only does this allow for more natural light (allowing you to turn off your indoor lights), but it also welcomes thermal energy into your home. The minimal effort of simply opening up the blinds or shades might be the one of the most effective ways you could save on your energy costs this winter.
Close the Fireplace Flue
There’s nothing more picturesque or romantic than the idea of being able to sit by a fire and enjoy the warmth under a blanket with a loved one. Believe it or not, doing so could actually cost you quite a bit in the long run. An open chimney flue is essentially the exact same thing as leaving a 48-inch window wide open somewhere in your home—it loses the same amount of heat. That roaring fire which feels warm and beautiful actually exhausts more than 20,000 cubic feet of air outside, and every bit of that warm air which escapes from your home through your chimney is replaced with cold air from outside.
While you may not be able to resist having a lovely fire a few times throughout the winter, this isn’t something you want to do every night. Believe it or not that feeling of cold throughout the rest of your home isn’t just you—it’s because of how much heat escaped from your home through your chimney flue. When you’re done with your fire, make sure you shut the flue in order to close off the air flow and seal the leak. If you’re waiting on a fire to finish burning out, consider installing a set of glass chimney doors to prevent heat from escaping while you allow the smoke and exhaust from your fire to finish escaping.
We strongly suggest getting your furnace or heater inspected at the start of winter to make sure it’s in good condition and ready for the long months ahead! Schedule yours or book a repair appointment by calling Roth Heating & Cooling, Plumbing & Electrical at (503) 994-9924 today.