The time has once again come to heed the Game of Thrones warning: “Winter is coming!” And in Bucks County that means it’s about to get very cold. Plunging temperatures and less daylight hours are looming, and it’s about time you started to get ready for evenings spent by the fire.
Freezing temperatures often result in ridiculously high heating bills, as you pump away hoping to restore your house and body to non-arctic conditions. However, most people fail to realize that some very small changes could help you save a lot of cash on your heating bills during the winter.
There are some very simple steps that you can take to ensure that your home is ready for the coming winter. Use the following steps to make sure that you have a warm and energy-conscious winter at a lower price:
1. Fix Air Leaks
Air leaks are one of the most common culprits when it comes to pushing up your heating bills. Cracks in the wall will allow warm air to escape from your house and cold air to enter it. This makes your heating system work much harder and will therefore drive up the costs of your heating bill enormously. Air leaks are commonly found on door and window frames, electrical and plumbing outlets and water and furnace flues.
The best ways to fix common air leaks are very simple:
- Use caulk to cover up cracks and leaks in areas that are solid and stationary such as where plumbing, electrical wire and doors come through the walls
- Use weatherstripping on cracks that are in places where there is lots of movement such as window frames
Seal up all the air leaks in the house that you can find, and you are guaranteed to have a more energy efficient heating system.
2. Fall Maintenance
Fall is a great time to get your HVAC units the much-needed maintenance that it is probably due. Old and inefficient heating systems are one of the main contributors towards a sky-high winter heating bill.
You can clean your furnace yourself, and even replace the filters, which may have become dirty over the summer, however if your furnace or other heating components seem to have bigger problems then you should get hold of a professional Bucks County HVAC company to do maintenance and repairs before winter arrives.
In extreme cases your furnace may need to be replaced completely. Your older model may need to be switched out for a newer, energy efficient model, which will save you money in the many winters to come.
3. Sealing and Insulating Air Ducts
We often overlook the air ducts in our houses when we are preparing for winter; we are unable to see them most of the time and therefore they aren’t on our minds. But air ducts can be a huge drain on your heating system and can really wrack up a high heating bill if they aren’t sealed properly.
Ducts are usually found in the attic or the basement and your may need to go crawling around in there to find them. Seal all the air leaks that you find in the ducts using mastic or adhesive-backed metal tape. Once they are sealed you will need to insulate the ducts, as they can still cause problems even if they are not properly sealed. DIY insulation of ducts is best done using duct blankets, however for more serious jobs, it is advised that you contact a reputable Bucks County HVAC company to do the job for you.
4. Clean Out the Gutters
It is easy to forget about cleaning your gutters in the summer months when they are not being much use at all. Besides, you were most likely busy riding bikes and enjoying the summer sunshine the majority of the time; much better pastimes than cleaning out the gutters.
However, it is essential that you clean out your gutter at the end of fall to get rid of any leaves and other material that may have gotten into your gutters and which will be blocking them up. A gutter block in winter can cause moisture to leak into your roof and walls or produce an ice puddle on your roof- all of which will bring the temperature down inside your house.
This means that your heating system would have to work extra hard to heat the house up and will result in a much higher heating bill.
5. Padding Your Pipes
Pipes that run into your house through unheated spaces such as the basement or garage are susceptible to extremely cold weather and they stand a very real chance of freezing and bursting.
To prevent this from happening you can wrap up these pipes and keep them warm. The best materials to use for pipe wrapping are foam insulation, pipe wrap or heat tape (which has to be connected to electricity).
6. Make Sure the Fireplace is all Good and Ready
One of the cheapest ways to keep your house heated (and probably the most pleasant)- is a lovely, warm fireplace. However, you need to make sure that your fireplace is working efficiently or you could end up with an ineffective fire and a room full of smoke.
Make sure that your chimney is clear of obstacles such as birds nests, leaves and other materials that may block it up. If you can see an obstruction in the chimney that is too far up to dislodge, then get hold of a professional chimney sweep to assist you.
The above 6 steps are just some of the easiest ways that you can prepare your house for the coming winter. By following this simple guide, you can ensure that your house is sufficiently insulated in order to have an energy-efficient heating system this winter.
If you prepare your house sufficiently before winter, not only can you expect to be warm and cozy, but you can also relax knowing that your heating bill isn’t going to go through your well-insulated roof.