Most Americans report that their energy bills rise in winter. This happens for several well-established, proven reasons. First of all, households spend more time indoors during the winter. With more time spent at home, energy bills are naturally higher. Secondly, electricity generation costs are often higher in winter, forcing electricity companies to pass these costs onto customers. Lastly, municipalities often buy electricity from outside sources to meet demand, which also costs more. Despite these unavoidable factors, you can reduce your energy consumption this winter. Let’s take a look at how to go about it.
Welcome Humidity Into Your Home
During summer, humidity makes already-high temperatures truly unbearable. Humidity doesn’t always make the weather intolerable, however. In winter, humidity causes people to feel less cold.
Heaters remove humidity from the air. This doesn’t mean you should stop using your heater during the wintertime. On the other hand, bringing more humidity into your home can help you reduce how much you use it. Substituting heater usage for humidifier usage isn’t an equal energy trade-off. Humidifiers only use a fraction of the energy that heaters do. All things considered, running a humidifier during winter can help you reduce your reliance on heating and lower your utility costs.
As you may know, winter is notorious for causing cracked lips and dry skin. Low-humidity environments are ideal for causing these symptoms. In addition to reducing energy consumption, humidifying your home can help you avoid parched skin and lips when the weather’s cold.
Don’t Shy Away From the Sun
It’s no secret that the sun powers the earth. The sun can also power your home, even without solar panels. During the nighttime, cover windows with drapes, curtains or blinds. Unlike walls, windows aren’t very good insulators. Knowing this, you may feel that covering windows all day long will help you save money. While you should always cover windows at night, covering them during the day prevents you from capitalizing on the power of sunlight.
As soon as you wake up, open your drapes. Feel free to pick and choose which windows you uncover. Be wary of uncovering windows that don’t bring in much light. Windows that directly face the sun are ideal candidates for going uncovered during the daytime. Here’s the main idea behind this energy-saving strategy. Thanks to the greenhouse effect, windows trap heat from sunlight. If the heat absorbed from this sunlight is greater than the heat lost through windows due to their poor insulating capabilities, you can improve energy efficiency. Speaking of windows, consider buying energy-efficient windows if you haven’t done so already.
Try to Reduce Exhaust Fan Use
Kitchens and bathrooms typically sport at least one exhaust fan. They prevent mold in bathrooms by speeding up the rate of evaporation, thereby sustaining good indoor air quality and reducing the likelihood of in-home water damage. In kitchens, exhaust fans get rid of smoke and fumes, which is also good for indoor air quality.
During winter, your home will virtually always be warmer than its immediate surroundings. Even without exhaust fans, cold air enters your home through tiny leaks, cracks and gaps. With them, however, you force your home’s warm air outside, welcoming cold air from outside in turn.
Turning on an exhaust fan for a few minutes after using the bathroom is fine. Briefly turning your stove’s exhaust on while cooking isn’t an energy-efficiency sin either. However, you should avoid using your home’s exhaust fans excessively during winter. If you’re too fond of exhaust fans, you could actually end up reducing the lifespan of your heating system by forcing it to work harder.
Take Advantage of Residual Heat From Cooking
Baking Christmas cookies is a storied tradition for many families. After using your oven, you’re probably accustomed to closing it as soon as your food’s removed. Doing this during winter could mean missing out on a potential source of heat. Always keep caution in mind, of course. Make physical safety your number one priority. As long as you don’t have children running around and you turn off the oven immediately after cooking, feel free to leave the oven door open to capture its residual heat.
Count on Reliable Professionals
At O'Brien Heating & Air Conditioning, we offer professional assistance with improving your home’s energy efficiency in both winter and summer. If you’re located anywhere near Drexel Hill, we’d love to help you with any of your home comfort needs. Contact us today for installation, maintenance or repair of any heating or cooling equipment. We’ve been doing this professionally for over 65 years.