As the Pacific Northwest prepare for winter weather and chilly temperatures, homeowners are bracing for higher energy bills as well as sustained rainy conditions. Some homeowners in and around Seattle have already fired up their furnaces and boilers this fall, but even the most well-intentioned homeowners may still be wasting money on their energy bills this year. These common mistakes end up costing homeowners hundreds of dollars every year, but there are ways to prevent them:
1. Using CFL Bulbs
While CFL bulbs are commonly considered to be the more energy-efficient choice, they can actually use more energy than traditional bulbs if used improperly. CFL bulbs are designed to be turned on and left on, so constantly flipping the switch will significantly shorten their lifespan and waste electricity. However, using CFL bulbs for always-on or fixtures left on for long durations (such as exterior lights used throughout the night) is a much more energy-efficient solution that traditional bulbs.
2. Failing to Adjust the Thermostat at Night
During waking hours, it makes sense to keep your home at a comfortable temperature so you can move about freely without having to bundle up. However, many homeowners and renters fail to adjust their thermostat at night - or turning the heat off completely during more mild nights. By turning down your thermostat during sleeping hours, you can reduce your energy usage and keep your heating bills low.
3. Keeping the Ceiling Fan Off
Contrary to popular belief, you should use your ceiling fan year-round. Many ceiling fans have a reverse function, pushing warm air back down into the room itself rather than rising to the ceiling and escaping. This is especially important for air-forced furnaces and radiant heat systems, as warm air will rise and escape much more quickly than other heating methods.
4. Letting the Water Run
Whether you're shaving, brushing your teeth, or washing dishes, you should try and reduce your hot water usage during the winter. Your hot water system is under additional strain, as many homeowners turn up the thermostat on their water heater. This is a simple step: use less water, pay less on your energy bills.
5. Using an Old Furnace Filter
Using an old or dirty filter will not only decrease your system efficiency, it compromises the air quality within your home itself. Cheap, large-particle filters will keep out larger particulates, but higher-quality filters can keep out pet dander, mold spores, and potentially dangerous allergens, so don't skimp on this essential winter upgrade.
6. Not Draining the Water Heater
With time, the minerals from your home's water source will build up and settle in the bottom of your water heater. The more water you use, the more sediment accumulates. Without regular draining and flushing of your hot water heater, the chances of inefficiency, damage, and even complete failure are increased - not something you want to face in the depths of winter.
Make a proactive choice for your family and your home by ensuring your plumbing is up-to-date and well-maintained this fall. To verify the integrity of your plumbing and heating systems, contact Pioneer Plumbing and Heating in the Seattle area today.
Image source, labelled for reuse