Oct 15 2014

Energy Savings Don’t Have to Suffer As the weather cools off, it’s time to change gears and think about steps you can take for fall energy savings in Stafford. Even though Texas has mild fall and winter seasons, you still stand to save substantially with these tips for when cooler temps arrive.

Operate the Furnace Efficiently

  • Set the temperature as low as you can: The recommended indoor temperature for winter is 68 degrees. This saves you about 4 percent on heating bills compared to keeping the house at 70 degrees.
  • Program setback periods: Keep the temperature at least 10 degrees colder (58 degrees) when you’re gone all day and at least 5 degrees colder (63 degrees) when you sleep at night. A programmable thermostat does this automatically and preserves home comfort so you wake up and arrive home to a comfortable temperature.
  • Avoid cranking up the heat: The house doesn’t warm up any faster because you raise the thermostat to 90 degrees. Change it by one degree and put on an extra layer to help you warm up.
  • Keep heating registers unblocked: Make sure curtains and furniture don’t block airflow. Also, don’t close more than 20 percent of your home’s supply registers to prevent efficiency problems and unbalancing the system.
  • Schedule service for the furnace: Annual preventative maintenance keeps the furnace running as efficiently as possible. The visit includes replacing the air filter — something you should do once a month to enhance fall energy savings.

Home Heating Conservation

  • Add a humidifier: Winter air is naturally drier, so run a whole-house humidifier to bring the relative humidity up to 50 percent. Evaporation has a cooling effect, and when the air is already saturated with water, less moisture evaporates from your skin, making you feel comfortable at a lower temperature.
  • Run the ceiling fan in reverse: During colder months, reverse the fan and run it on low to redistribute heated air back down to the floor without creating a cool breeze.
  • Open the shades: Let the sun pour in and naturally warm your home. Remember to close window coverings at night to insulate the windows and provide fall energy savings.

Save on Water Heating

  • Turn down the temperature: Lower the water heater’s setting from 140 degrees to 120 degrees for fall energy savings and reduced chance of scalding at the tap.
  • Insulate the water heater: You can find special jackets at home improvement stores to wrap around the water heater and reduce standby heat loss.
  • Install low-flow fixtures: Aeration keeps the pressure up while reducing the amount of water flowing through shower heads and faucets.
  • Repair leaks: Even a slowly leaking faucet can waste dozens of gallons of water every day. Promptly fix any leaks you find.
  • Maintain the water heater: Simply draining a quart of water from your water heater every three months keeps the appliance running well for fall energy savings.
  • Only run hot water appliances with full batches: Wait until the dishwasher is full before you run it. Also, make sure you have enough dirty clothes for a full batch before you do a load of laundry.

Lower Air Infiltration Rates

  • Check windows and doors: Look for worn weatherstripping and cracked caulk. Repair these leaky areas to increase the tightness of your home.
  • Check other leaky areas: The potential for leaks occurs anywhere two building materials come together. Look around electrical outlets, light switch plates, baseboards, exhaust fans, plumbing and wiring penetrations, the attic hatch and the fireplace damper for air leaks. Seal any leaks you find with caulk.
  • Add insulation: The attic is the most cost-effective place to add insulation to an existing home. Add more insulation to ensure you have several inches of fiberglass or cellulose evenly coating every square inch of the attic floor.

Light the Way to Lower Bills

  • Replace light bulbs: You count on artificial lighting more in the winter with overcast weather and shorter days. Save on lighting by replacing incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) or light emitting diodes (LEDs). These use far less energy and last many times longer than incandescent bulbs.
  • Turn off the lights: Get in the habit of flicking the light switch when you leave a room.
  • Install motion sensors: External lights don’t need to shine all the time. Use motion sensors to control when they come on.
  • Use LED holiday lights: These reduce the electrical cost associated with your holiday decorations.

If you enjoyed these tips for fall energy savings, contact Conditioned Air in Stafford for more useful information.

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