With winter barreling down many people are faced with high energy bills. While cold weather inevitably brings higher energy costs, there are ways to lessen the shock on your wallet.
The easiest way to reduce heating cost
The easiest and cheapest way to reduce heating cost in the winter is to lower the thermostat. During winter months a good temperature to set is 68 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature will keep rooms comfortably warm while lessening the load on your heating system. If this temperature is still a little cold just wear an extra layer around the house.
Another good practice is to lower the temperature when your home or office is unoccupied. This can be done easily with a programmable thermostat. With a programmable thermostat the temperature will automatically reduce at a desired programmed time and returns back at another set time. This will greatly reduce energy cost while keeping thermal comfort unaffected. According to the EnergyStar website home owners can save on average $180.
Importance of insulation
Insulation keeps buildings from losing or gaining temperature through the walls. Good insulation acts like a thermos keep the building warm or cold regardless of exterior temperature. Due to cost of construction and building materials residential buildings generally have the lowest R-values for insulations. An R-value is the rating of the insulating material. The higher the R-value the better it performs as an insulating material.
A typical residential wall has a R-value of 15. A typical commercial building wall has a R-value of 30. Increasing the rating of a wall is difficult to do after construction is complete. It will normally require demolition which will increase cost. One way to avoid demolition and increase the thermal properties of a wall is to use a foam insulation that can be pumped in through a small hole in a wall. There are several companies in the Cincinnati area that performs this technique. This insulation material adds an R-value of around 4. This added insulation can save up to 50% on energy bills according to the RetroFoam website.
This added insulation also reduces heat gain in the summer. Therefore it will also save energy in the warmer months by keeping the cool air in.
New windows and doors will also reduce energy cost in both the summer and winter. With energy cost on the rise window manufactures have started emphasizing thermal properties in window systems. Most new window systems have added insulation in the casing. The use of double pane glazing is becoming another trend that increases the thermal properties of windows.
For more information on windows visit the Champion website.
For more information on foam insulation visit the RetroFoam website.
For more information on programmable thermostats visit the Energy Star website.