Cooler nights, shorter days – the signs are all clear: It’s time to think about energy savings. Another winter’s on the way and another heating season is about to commence. Memories of last year’s utility bills may not fill you with nostalgia but there are a few things you can do differently this year to bring those costs down. Energy efficiency is more a matter of taking small measures than big, broad strokes. The sum total of minor efforts now, before the cold winds blow, can be substantial later. Here are some energy savings ideas to start this winter off on the right foot.
Seal the leaks
During winter, heat energy is looking for ways to escape from your home. Hold a stick of lit incense around doors and windows and observe the smoke stream for signs of moving air. Turn on interior lights at night and go outdoors. Look for light leaking out under doors and where plumbing pipes and electrical conduits enter the house.
Use foam-backed weatherstripping tape to close the gaps around doors and window sashes. Silicone caulking can be used for cracks and long gaps in the interior such as where the baseboard meets the floor. To close larger exterior gaps around plumbing pipe penetrations, expanding spray foam in a can is useful.
Change the furnace filter
Changing the filter improves air flow, which has a huge impact on efficiency. It also helps ensure healthy indoor air quality.
Adequate attic insulation is especially important in winter, when rising hot air warms the ceiling and heat may escape into the attic. Fortunately, it’s the easiest place in the house to add insulation, and it can be placed right on top of the existing stuff.
In the Wichita area’s climate, the U.S. Department Of Energy recommends attic insulation up to a level of R-60. For standard fiberglass insulation, this means the total depth in the attic should be at least 12 inches and up to 20 inches.
Comfort Systems has roots in Wichita that date back more than 50 years. Call us now for more advice on preparing your home for energy savings this winter.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Wichita, Kansas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about energy saving steps and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.