As much as we hate to admit it, that long Texas summer will soon be coming to a close and it’s time to turn our attention and energy toward preparing for the colder weather to come. The remaining sunny days of summer are an ideal time to think about preparing your Austin home for colder temperatures, before said blustery weather arrives. We’ve put together a few quick and easy tips to help you save some money while keeping you and your family warm.
Insulation is Key
The idea is to keep the heat in your home in your home; you can do this by ensuring that your home is properly insulated. A few things to look for include ensuring weather stripping has been installed on all doorways and by making sure any cracked or damaged stripping has been replaced. You also want to ensure that the threshold between your door and the door frame has been properly adjusted; if you see any light through the bottom of your door when it's closed, there is too much space.
Make sure to plug any holes. Oftentimes when pipes and electrical wiring are installed in a home, any holes left behind are hastily filled using some form of caulking. This material can often dry out and crack with time – check to ensure these holes are properly sealed.
Pro Tip: During the day, leave blinds and curtains on south facing windows open to allow a maximum amount of sunshine in; then close the curtains at night to keep that heat in.
Replace Old or Worn Out Appliances
Without a doubt, the most important appliance for heating your home is your furnace. Like any appliance, the furnace needs to be regularly serviced to keep working at peak efficiency. You may also want to consider replacing older, inefficient models.
With days becoming shorter and as we spend more and more time in doors, the importance of electrical light can’t be understated. Consider switching to energy efficient bulbs throughout your home, any greater cost for the bulbs themselves will be subsidized in the long term. Not only do the newer energy-efficient bulbs utilize less power, they also tend to last longer, ensuring greater savings over time.
Pro Tip: Wrap your hot water tank in an insulated blanket, making sure to keep all vents clear. This is especially important for older models that tend to feature less internal insulation.
Use Energy Only When You Need To
The largest monthly savings can come from simply changing your habits. Use only the energy you need when you need it! Heat yourself rather than the entire house by wearing a sweater and keeping blankets on hand for yourself and guests. While creating a cozy atmosphere, you’ll also save on your heating bill. You can also invest in space heaters – instead of heating your whole home, keep doors to rooms you aren’t using closed and heat the most lived-in portions of your home.
Plus, adjust your thermostat to only heat your home when you need it. It’s estimated you can reduce your heating bill by as much 10% simply by reducing the heat while you’re at work. You can reduce it even further by lowering the thermostat while you're sleeping, tucked tightly into your comforter.
Lastly, you can save money by lowering the temperature on your hot water tank and by simply taking shorter showers. If all members of your family take some of these simple lifestyle changes to heart, the monthly savings could potentially be significant.
Pro Tip: Enter the 21st century while taking the work out of constantly adjusting your thermostat. Purchase a digital thermostat to automatically lower the heat in your home when you don’t need it. You can even install new low-flow showerheads to further reduce the amount of water used by the family each morning.