How to Keep Your Heating and Power Bill Lower in Winter
Wintertime is a tough time for bills. We have Holidays to prepare (and spend) for, and we have increased electric bills due to the cost of heating. We have some tips on how to keep your power bill low as possible. While they won't reduce your power bill to zero, our tips can help you save on your power bill.
Change the furnace filter on your heat pumps return air regularly. We recommend once a month but once every other month should be the longest you should go without changing to a new filter. We recommend the pleated type of furnace filters, but not the super allergen type since they are expensive and they place more load on your heat pumps fan motor and can cause it to prematurely fail. Changing the furnace filter once every 4 to 6 weeks ideal. Remember, you need to check, you might have two air returns in your home, if so, you need to change both. Most homes only have one but many have one upstairs and one downstairs if you live in a multi-level unit.
Take cooler or shorter showers since in winter as hot water generally feels great and it's tempting to take longer or hotter showers. Very hot showers not only dry your skin out, they also take more electricity.
If you have a programmable thermostat, use the programming feature to turn the heat down 2 or 3 degrees in the evening while you sleep and then back up when you wake, or just before you return home from a day at work. In the mornings you can get by with less heat since you're up and getting ready for work and not there long before you leave and your home is empty all day while you're at work. We recommend leaving non-programmable thermostats alone, set it to 68, 68, 70 or maybe 71 and leaving it alone. Turning the heat up and down multiple times a day can put stress on your heat pump equipment as well as increase your power bill. The idea is to "set it and forget it" if you can. Its better on the equipment, and lowers your power bill.
Leave bedroom and bathroom doors open most of the time. Closing doors can reduce or nearly eliminate the flow of air from your ducts registers back to the return. The idea behind a ducted system is that heated (or cooled in the summertime) air comes out of the registers in your ceiling or floor, and makes it way back to the return. This travel of air is an exchange of air that is heated (or cooled) and it warms (or cools) the air in your home. The air that circulates in this "loop" fashion is the circulation of air that your home needs in order to feel comfortable. The idea of a heat pump "running all the time" is actually good. The less times a motor starts and stops the better. Start-ups on fan and compressors is what adds to the power bill. It's actually better for a heat pump to run most of the time because it helps with the circulation, you get better air quality as a result and comfort. When we say air quality, we mean comfort, and less stale air. Remember, leave bedroom and bathroom doors open most of the time, and all the air to circulate throughout your home.
Run bathroom exhaust fans least amount of time. Run them when you start your shower and then for about 15 to 20 minutes after you get out of the shower, but remember to turn them OFF since a bathroom exhaust fan will suck the heat out of your home in only a few hours.
Keep your clothes dryer filter clean. Clean it before running each and every load of clothes to dry. Sometimes you can even stop the dryer mid-cycle if you're drying cotton or something that is fuzzy and has a lot of lint. You can clean the lint filter mid-cycle and save a lot of energy since the air flow is better and air flow is what drys your clothes, along with some heat from the heating element inside the dryer itself.
Go outside and look at your dryers exhaust vent where it comes out of your home. If its clogged with lint, take a brush or shop vac and clean it. Many times you can temporarily remove the plastic fins from the vent by gently bending them to get them out. Then pull or vac the link out, consider sticking the end of a broom or brush into the pipe to loosen the lint , then go inside start the dryer and let it run for 10 seconds to try and blow some of the lint out of the pipe. Then remember to reinstall the little plastic flaps outside. These flaps work to keep critters and cold air from entering the dryer vent. If your exhaust vent has lost or damaged flaps, consider replacing them or contacting your property manager.
Pull clothes out of the dryer pre-maturely when they are almost dry and hanging them up on a line or drying rack. This saves on drying time (and electricity), and helps reduce wear on your clothing.
Consider installing LED light bulbs in your light fixtures and lamps. Many times you can replace a 60-watt incandescent bulb with a 10-watt or less LED bulb. This power savings adds up. Also, turn lights off when not in use, when you leave the room.