How to: Heat your home & save money
Energy saving tips on how to heat your home for the winter and minimize consumption.
Bermuda is fortunate not to have extremely cold winters. However, the dampness and windy temperatures does make consumers use more electricity to stay warm. A natural concern is expecting a high electricity bill during the wintertime.
There are simple things you can do in your home to keep the heat in and save money, such as:
1. Seal leaks
Check for gaps or cracks in your windows and doors that need sealing. Caulking and weatherstripping are two useful ways to eliminate warm air leaks.
Caulk is a flexibly waterproof material that fills and seals joints. Apply caulk to broken seals along the exterior and interior trim of windows and around doors.
Weatherstripping is the action of adding specific insulating material to frames where air can get in. Weatherstripping is used when caulking won’t work for larger gaps. This can be used in various thicknesses and materials for different size gaps.
Also seal around other openings like electrical outlets, ceiling fixtures, AC units and plumbing. Other sealants include spray foam insulation, door sweeps, or door snakes. When most of the heat lost comes from doors or windows, it is smart to apply sealants as a properly sealed home can save up to 15% on your electricity bill.
2. Use your window treatments
Open the curtains or blinds during the day to let the sun in and to boost the temperature naturally. Closing the curtains at night will add an additional layer to help keep the heat inside. Insulated curtains specifically are a great option for the winter to reduce the amount of air exchange.
3. Purchase new windows
When windows start to experience mold on their frame or are old, it may be time to invest in new ones. Opt for ENERGY STAR® certified models for optimal efficiency.
Monitor the Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning units correctly
1. Set the modes and temperature
Finding an ideal temperature to set your central heaters for the winter is key.
This does not mean hiking the temperature to beyond 75 degrees. In fact, the temperature for most houses can be set to 68 degrees to reach a comfortable degree of warmth. Set the unit on auto mode. While this may take longer to warm your home, it will distribute the air until the temperature is met.
When the unit is set to a continuous mode, the fans are always running and the warm air moves faster through your space. However, you are also consuming more electricity during the time. The most cost-effective way of using your heating unit is to only have it running when needed or when you are home.
Consumers can save as much as 10% a year on electricity from adjusting the thermostat 7 to 10 degrees lower than what it is normally.
2. Check the filters
Take out and inspect the air filters before turning up the temperature. Old and dirty filters block air from flowing efficiently. Clogged filters over time will damage the unit and should be replaced every 3 months if used regularly.
3. Purchase a Smart Thermostat
Automatically adjust the temperature from your phone or tablet with a Wi-Fi enabled Smart device. The thermostat will modify the temperature and can be done even when you are not at home. It can allow for multi-room control and has algorithms to track your habits and other features for further efficiency. This makes it easy to reduce your consumption and thus save money. One study showed an average household can save 10–12 percent on heating costs with a smart thermostat.
Maximize your Appliances:
1. Ceiling fans
A ceiling fan can be a helpful agent in the winter. Ceiling fans normally turn counterclockwise which pushes the air down to create a chill effect. However, if your fan has a reverse switch, rotating it clockwise can produce an updraft and move warm air as it rises to the ceiling and around the room.
2. Space Heaters
Space heaters are good when you want to quickly heat a small area rather than your entire home. These can add warmth only to the rooms you use the most and save energy being used throughout the home.
Extract the moisture from the air and minimize dampness with the use of a dehumidifier. When following the previously mentioned steps, you are locking in moisture through humid air which takes more energy to heat.
A dehumidifier lowers moisture content for dry air to circulate and increases the temperature in a room by 5-10 degrees.
It is important to monitor your electricity consumption and try the tips listed above to help you save on your BELCO bill. As a consumer, you may experience higher electricity bills during the winter, but now that the Fuel Adjustment Rate (“FAR”) is reduced, you can benefit from a lower rate for fuel. These tips can help cut costs further while keeping your home warm.