You shouldn't have to stay warm by bundling up in sweaters and blankets in order to keep your heating bill under control during the winter months. Adding a few updates to your home will afford you the comfort you want while lowering your energy needs as well as minimizing wear and tear on your HVAC or heating services system. Here are a few effective options to consider:
Do a Little Insulation
Leaks in your windows and doors make the house drafty, and can waste the warm air that your heater is pumping out. This makes your system have to work harder to keep up with temperature demands, and has a negative effect on your utility costs. Luckily, you can easily minimize the draft in your home with these insulation techniques:
- Apply insulation foam spray around the frame of the windows.
- Install weather stripping in the frames of the doors.
- Use door snakes along the bottoms of doors that lead to the exterior when they aren't in use.
Don't forget to tend to the windows in your basement and attic, as well as the doors that lead to these spaces.
Dress Your Windows Up
Windows are one of the biggest sources of heat loss in your home, so in addition to insulating them with spray foam, it's a good idea to dress them up for the season. Apply insulation film on the actual glass of your windows for added protection – they come in different colors, styles, and designs to fit your décor preferences. You should also install new coverings to the interiors of your windows. Some trendy options include:
- Thermal shutters.
- Roman shades that have been pre-insulated.
- Roller shades.
- Cellular honeycomb curtains.
If you live in a particularly cold area, it might be worth installing exterior shutters on the windows that can be used at night and when there is an overcast of clouds present during the day.
Plant Deciduous Trees in the Yard
Deciduous trees lose their leaves during winter months so the sun can naturally warm up your home, lessening your need for the heater and decreasing your energy bills. And during summer months, these trees are full of leaves and naturally shade your home from the sun to keep it cooler. Planting trees in your yard can also increase your property value by up to 20 percent! Try your hand at one or more of these tree types:
- White birch.
- Yellow poplar.
- Weeping willow.
- Gladiator flowering crabapple.
Plant your trees near windows that get direct sunlight, making sure that they're far enough away from the home that their branches won't fall onto your roof once they are mature during heavy winds.
Schedule a Professional Checkup Twice a Year
One of the most important things you can do to minimize wear and tear on your heating system and make sure that it is performing optimally is to schedule an HVAC maintenance appointment with a professional twice a year. During these maintenance visits, you can expect your service provider to:
- Tighten the electrical connections.
- Inspect the condensate drain and make adjustments as necessary.
- Check and balance refrigerant levels.
- Check the gas pressure and heat exchanger.
- Ensure that the thermostat setting work properly.
In addition to having your system professionally serviced, you can help to keep it in tip-top shape by cleaning the filters once a month with a damp towel to get dust and grime off of them. It's important to replace the filters as soon as holes or tears become apparent.
You'll find that many of these implementations, such as planting deciduous trees and adding a little insulation, will help to keep your home cool during summer months too.