Save money on heating costs this winter

The following information is recommended by Rhino Design Build for San Antonio and surrounding areas.

* Do an energy audit of your house, identifying areas where heated air is leaking out. Check around doors, windows, fireplaces, and other areas that may feel drafty. Caulk around doors and windows, weather stripping, door sweeps, plastic, and other appropriate means to close off these leaks. Also, check for any holes in the siding or exterior of they house.  If you find any, seal them with caulking or spray foam.  If your house is poorly insulated, adding additional insulation will pay for itself in reduced heating costs.  We purchase all of our insulation online because it is cheaper than buying from the major home improvement stores and it gets shipped directly to us.  We order from: Owens Corning Attic Insulation .

* Minimize your use of ventilation fans such as bathroom fans and kitchen hood fans in winter. A bathroom fan can suck all the heated air out of the average house in little more than an hour if left running.  Over the course of the winter, ventilation fans can increase your heating costs by a surprising amount, so be aware and only use accordingly.  We don’t have very many cold days here in San Antonio, Texas, but in other parts of the country, you guys sure do.

* Don’t heat areas of your house you don’t use regularly, such as guest rooms or mother in law suites. Close heating vents or turn back thermostats in those areas and close the doors for a painless reduction in heating costs.

* Turn down the heat and use space heaters to heat the room you spend time in.  Be careful not leave unattended as these space heaters are the cause of many fires.

* Keep your furnace, heat pump, or other heating equipment in top operating condition. Dirty filters reduce the efficiency of your furnace or heat pump. They are usually sold at your local grocery or hardware store.  Buy a few of them and mark the date you change it on the filter itself.  Change your filters every 3-6 months.   Poorly tuned air conditioning units are inefficient, use more fuel and can leak if not properly maintained. An annual maintenance agreement is well worth the money to ensure that your equipment is properly maintained and will last as long as possible.  We all want help reducing our CPS bill.

* Don’t turn your thermostat up above the desired temperature. It won’t heat up any more quickly and will make your furnace work harder. Also, while it makes sense to turn the heat back when you’re sleeping or not at home, turning it down too low can actually cost you more because the contents of the house have to be re-heated in addition to the air. 68 to 70 degrees while you’re home and awake, and 60 to 65% while you’re asleep or not at home are reasonable temperatures.

* Consider a Programmable or Smart Thermostat to raise and lower the temperature at pre-set times.  There is no need to have your heater running while you are at work.  Have it set to turn off after you leave in the morning and then turn back on about 45 minutes before you get home in the evening.  If you have indoor pets,  have the temperature set at a comfortable level.  Check with CPS or your local energy  company for rebates or tax credits.

* Check the temperature setting on your hot water heater and consider upgrading to a tankless water heater.. If you have a dishwasher, your water should be heated to 120 degrees. Otherwise, it can be somewhat lower.

* If your water heater is in an unheated space like an unfinished basement, wrap it in an Water Heater Blanket
prevent heat loss.

*  Consider a installing a tankless water heater. Takless water heaters only heat water as needed.  Your regular water heater is working hard when you are work, shopping or even on vacation.   It consumes a lot of energy because it has to constantly work to heat the water to the set temperature.  Check with energy star for federal tax credits available.

* Wash clothes in cold water whenever possible.

* It’s tempting to stand under a hot shower on a cold morning for as long as possible, but cutting your shower time in half can save up to 33% on your hot water heating costs.

* In winter, open the blinds and curtains on the sunny side of the house (the south-facing side) when the sun is shining and close them as soon as the sun goes down to retain the solar heat. Close curtains on the shady side of the house (north-facing side). If you don’t have curtains, consider installing some. Curtains made from heavy fabric with lots of folds (fullness) can prevent cold air from seeping in and warm air from seeping out, which reduces your heating costs.

This information is based on local information for the San Antonio, Texas, Bexar County  and surrounding areas.