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5 Tips for Saving Energy and Staying Warm This Winter

Autumn is a cozy season filled with hearty family meals, hot apple cider, and fun fall festivals. It’s also the perfect time to prepare your home for bitter winter weather.

Did you know heating is the biggest energy expense for Colorado homeowners? The average homeowner spends $500 on heating every year. Poor insulation and inefficient heating units are the main causes of high heating expenses. Proper insulation and more energy-efficient heating systems can slash these costs by up to 20% annually.

Even if you don’t need to replace your current unit, there are a few things you can do to save energy this winter. (And stay toasty warm while you’re at it.) Let’s dive in to some of the most effective tips for saving energy, not just in winter, but in all seasons. Our advice goes beyond installing LED lightbulbs and turning down the thermostat.

Insulate your old water heater

If your water heater is an older model and you’re not in a position to replace it, consider wrapping it in an insulating blanket. This simple tip can save you over 15% on your annual heating costs. It also reduces lost heat by up to 45%.

Insulating blankets are inexpensive, starting at just $20. But not all water heaters will require insulation. Here are a few things you should know before insulating your water heater:

  • If your water heater is warm to the touch, it could benefit from an insulating blanket.
  • Newer models likely don’t need an insulation blanket.
  • Avoid insulating blankets if your water heater has an R-value of 24 or higher.
  • Do not insulate a leaking water heater. This will need to be replaced.
  • If your water heater is electric, you might also want to insulate the underside of the tank for an additional 10% savings on lost heat. However, this is best done if you’re installing a new unit.

Got questions about insulating your water heater? Give us a call today to schedule your appointment. You’ll receive personalized advice on saving electricity in the winter for your home and needs.

Lower the temperature of your water heater if you’re planning to travel

Traveling out of town to visit relatives over Christmas? Before you leave, be sure to turn down your water heater.

Running a water heater costs $440 a year on average. You could reduce that amount by up to 10% a year by lowering the temperature even a few degrees.

If you’re planning to travel over the holiday period, consider lowering the temperature since your water won’t be in use.

Winterize your windows and doors

The first step for winterizing your home is to identify leaks in windows and doors. One of the easiest ways to do this is with the smoke test. Turn off any fans or heaters. Light a stick of incense and hold it near the window or door frame. If the smoke blows sideways, you might have a leak.

Plugging drafty doors and windows is easy and relatively inexpensive. You have a few options to choose from:

  • Caulking
  • Window films
  • Door seals
  • Weatherstripping tape

Once you’ve found and fixed drafty windows and doors, be sure to put your blinds and curtains to good use. On sunny days, let natural warmth in by opening the blinds. On cold nights, draw your blinds or curtains to prevent heat from escaping and cold from entering your home.

Swap out your old appliances for newer, more energy-efficient alternatives

According to a fact sheet published by Colorado State University, older furnaces and hot water heaters are roughly half as efficient as newer units.

Upgrading to a new energy-efficient unit is a considerable investment in the short-term. But it’s one that will quickly pay for itself in energy savings. Not to mention that homeowners using Energy-Star certified appliances often qualify for a tax credit.

Got questions about energy-efficient appliances? Our technicians have answers. Get in touch today to discuss your needs.

Have your heating system inspected annually

If you’re not already having your heating system inspected each year, now’s a good time to start. Scheduling a heating inspection now could save you a lot of time and money later.

During your inspection, our HVAC technicians will identify necessary repairs and potential problems. We pride ourselves on prompt, efficient service. Education is a big part of what we do. If you have any questions during your assessment, please don’t hesitate to ask.

These energy saving tips will serve you well this winter. But they’re also general tips that everyone can put into practice.

Want personalized guidance on saving energy? Call Golden West today to schedule your maintenance appointment. Your technician will review the efficiency of your heating system and make recommendations based on your needs and budget.

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