Lower Temperatures, Lower Bills
Posted: January 08, 2019 by Matthew Hillier
Colder months often mean higher bills. Check DTE's tips to spare your wallet this winter:
Install a programmable thermostat and set it at 68 degrees Fahrenheit or lower - the recommended setting for winter. Through proper use of pre-programmed settings, a programmable thermostat can save you about $180 every year in energy costs.
Check out our DTE Rebate Program to learn how you can get money back for buying a new thermostat.
Changing Blade Direction
In the winter, run ceiling fans in the opposite direction going clockwise at the lowest speed to slowly circulate heated air.
ENERGY STAR® Ceiling Fans
ENERGY STAR®-certified ceiling fan/light combination units are 60% more efficient than conventional fan/light units, which can save you more than $15 per year on utility bills and use improved motors and blade designs.
Seal then Insulate
You can save about 10% off your total energy bill by sealing air leaks first, followed by adding insulation. Seal air leaks using caulk, spray foam, or weather stripping. Weatherizing your home this way is one of the most cost effective ways to improve energy efficiency and comfort.
Sealing Hidden Leaks
Air can leak out of your house around windows, doors, skylights, and other openings. If you add up all of the hidden air leaks in your home, they can equal a hole the size of an open window! To maximize home efficiency, seal all the gaps where air can leak out.
Although some types of floor coverings will naturally feel cold on bare feet, insufficient insulation or air infiltration could be the cause for cold floors. Air sealing and insulation can help stop drafts and improve the comfort of your home. Contact a heating and cooling contractor to check if your heating and cooling system is providing enough air to each room.
Ensure the roof has adequate ventilation to avoid ice blockages. In the winter, warm, moist air seeps into the attic from the living space below.
It is more important, from a structural integrity standpoint, that an attic be properly ventilated than insulated. Of course, both depend on the other to function correctly. If the heat is not ventilated, it can build up on the underside of the roof causing snow-melt. As a result, water runs down the roof to the eave, where it typically is not over a heated attic, turning colder. The water then refreezes causing an "ice-dam" allowing water to back-up under the roof shingles causing leaks. The house can also be damaged from ice weight and failing ice.
Adding Solar Panels
Harness the power of the sun. Consider adding rooftop solar panels to your home.
Keep the Air Flowing
Make sure that rugs, drapes, or furniture are not blocking air flow to heating/cooling registers or baseboard heaters. Also keep them clear of paper, files and office supplies.
Turn Off Fans
Turn off kitchen and bath and fans within 20 minutes after you are done cooking or bathing. Also, when replacing exhaust fans, consider installing high-efficiency, low-noise models.
Sealing Air Leaks
Check your ductwork for air leaks, especially at joints. Seal off air leaks with foil faced tape rather than duct tape.
Close Fireplace Damper
Tightly close fireplace damper, unless a fire is burning. Keeping the damper open is like having a window open during the winter.
Fireplace Door and Chimney Cap
Install a tight-fitting fireplace door and chimney cap to prevent cold air from entering your house. Even better, install a fireplace insert with a blower motor for added heating efficiency.
Install insulated drapes or blinds to keep warm air inside. In the winter, keep the draperies and blinds on your south-facing windows open during the day to allow the sunlight to enter your home and closed at night to reduce the chill and drafts.
Plastic Window Sheeting
Seal the leaks! It may be too cold outside to caulk around windows, but you can still install low-cost, clear plastic window sheeting over leaking windows to keep cold air out. The plastic must be sealed tightly to the frame to help reduce infiltration.
Maintain your equipment to prevent future problems and unwanted costs. Keep your heating system at peak performance by having a contractor do annual pre-season check-ups and DTE provides rebates to help offset the cost! Contractors get busy once winter comes, so it's best to check the heating system in the fall.
Clean or replace furnace and air filters regularly – filters should be cleaned or replaced at least every three months. Dirty filters block air flow, causing your furnace and central air conditioning to work harder and less economically.
Too Much Moisture
If you have a humidifier, check it regularly for proper operation. It could be adding too much moisture to your indoor air.
In the U.S., humidifiers use approximately 0.11% of the total electricity consumed by households each year. The portable humidifier category is composed of three subcategories, each with their own benefits and characteristics: ultrasonic, cool mist and warm mist.