You’ve no doubt noticed that winter has come in full force in Philadelphia. And that always means those high heating costs. So how can you reduce those heating bills without breaking the bank? Here are some tips from your Philadelphia HVAC experts at Affordable Fixes LLC.
Lower the Thermostat Setting
This may be a “duh” answer, but most people don’t appreciate how much they can save with just a small thermostat adjustment. In fact, for each degree you lower your setting over a 24-hour period, you can save up to 3 percent during that time period. Consider especially lowering your setting while you are asleep.
Use Your Ceiling Fan
You heard right, use those fans on a low setting in order to circulate the air that gets trapped at the ceiling. Hot air rises. Getting it to circulate brings it down where it is needed and allows it to feel warmer.
Keep Vents Clear
Make sure your vents or radiators are free from obstructions and not blocked by furniture of floor coverings. You want warm air to be able to circulate freely around the room. You will also want to keep your vents and radiators clean and dust free. Not only does dust and dirt clog circulation but it can be a big allergen in the home.
Seal Your Windows
Your home can lose 10 to 25 percent of its heat due to windows. Make sure to seal around windows and doors and any leaks around your home. Open shades on the south side of the home facing any sun during the daylight hours to allow the natural warmth into your home. Make sure windows are covered especially at night when the temperatures dip. Other common places for air leaks are where wires and cables come into the home and around electrical outlets.
Having adequate insulation is important to keep warmed air inside and cold air outside and can also be a tax-deductible home improvement. Don’t forget to insulate the basement as well.
Close the Flue
Make sure to close your chimney flue when your fireplace isn’t in use, otherwise, you are allowing warm air to escape.
Change Your Air Filters
In order for your furnace to work efficiently, it needs good circulation. A clogged filter is a sure-fire way to reduce the efficiency of your system. This should be done periodically for both furnace and air conditioning systems.
Invest in a Programmable or Smart Thermostat
Thermostats that can adjust your temperature at certain times, even when you aren’t home, can offer substantial savings on your energy bills.
Make Sure to Get Your System Maintained
Making sure your HVAC system is working properly should be something you do each year. Call the Philadelphia HVAC repair pros at Affordable Fixes LLC to see how having an annual maintenance program can ensure that your heating and cooling system is working properly when you need it most.
Heating and cooling your home accounts for approximately half of your energy costs. This means that the more efficiently you do this, the lower your energy costs will be. Enter the new generation of temperature control devices: the smart thermostat. But besides its gadget-worthiness, is a smart thermostat really worth it?
What They Do
A smart thermostat will allow you to change the thermostat settings in your home from an app on your smartphone, computer, or other voice-controlled device. This is a major convenience, especially if your schedule changes frequently and you would like to adjust temperature settings in your home when no one is there. If you’re feeling super lazy, you can even turn on the heat without leaving the sofa.
Another benefit of having a smart thermostat is that not only can you view your usage, but depending on your system, it may even eventually learn your habits and adjust your temperatures accordingly.
But Will it Save You Money?
Ask a Philadelphia HVAC repair technician and the answer you will get is YES. Smart thermostats can save from $131 to $145 a year, according to the Nest Thermostat. In fact, the Nest is so smart, it will encourage a homeowner to make smart choices with handy leaf badges and monthly reports.
Other Nifty Features
Most smart thermostats have features that help make your life easier. Some useful features include HVAC maintenance reminders and dirty filter detection capabilities. The ability to monitor usage can make you more aware of your family’s energy consumption and make you think twice about your family’s energy usage.
Some Important Considerations
When considering the pros and cons of a smart thermostat, there are a few things you need to weigh. Sometimes, a home with air conditioning and a furnace can require a more sophisticated thermostat and professional setup. If you are only planning on living where you are for a short period of time, the investment of a smart thermostat may not be worth it. As is the case with all thermostats, you will want to consider the placement of the unit since it will register the air temperature in that area and not necessarily in other parts of the home. So, placing it near a warm fire burning device or near the kitchen oven can affect its overall performance.
What is the Biggest Downside?
For most people, a smart thermostat has one important downside and that is the cost. While a regular manual thermostat will cost anywhere between $20 and $60, a smart thermostat can cost anywhere between $200 and $300. Some homeowners think that the cost savings would immediately justify the purchase whereas others may not. It is up to the individual.
Call an Expert
If you have questions about smart thermostat technology or are considering having a smart thermostat installed, call our Philadelphia HVAC experts at Affordable Fixes LLC.
Tis the season to be jolly. But we doubt that jolly will be one of those adjectives that will describe you if you experience a flood or leak due to frozen pipes! Don’t wait until it happens to you. Be proactive and winterize your plumbing so you can continue being jolly for the rest of the season.
Why is Winterizing Important?
Proactively winterizing your plumbing is a critical way to avoid frozen pipes in the winter. When pipes freeze, they can burst and cause incredible damage to your home. Winterizing ensures that pipes, drain lines, fixtures, and faucets are protected against winter freezing.
The High Cost of Water Damage
One of the costliest damages that can happen to your home is the cost to repair a burst pipe and the damage it causes. According to State Farm Insurance, the average homeowner’s insurance claim for frozen pipes averages around $15,000 but can run far more in cleanup costs. If a pipe burst is easily accessible, a small emergency repair to a pipe can still cost several hundreds of dollars for a Philadelphia plumber. Conversely, the cost of averting a frozen pipe emergency is relatively negligible.
Keep Your Heating System Maintained
In the dead of winter, the last thing you want is for your furnace to break down. Call a professional Philadelphia HVAC repair company to ensure that your system is ready for winter.
You should first know where your emergency shutoff valve is and know how to operate it. In the event of any burst, shutting off the main water source is your first line of defense and crucial to avoid costly water damage.
Pipes and faucets that are located in your unheated garage, in the basement or crawlspace of your home or any other unheated area should be insulated. This can be done with special insulation sleeves or special heat tape. All exposed pipes should be insulated, even those in hard to reach places. Don’t leave any gaps in the insulation. If you are not comfortable with doing this yourself, you should schedule the services of a Philadelphia plumber.
Another way to ensure that pipes don’t freeze in particularly harsh winter weather is to open kitchen and bathroom cabinet and pantry doors to allow warmer air access to areas that may be less insulated and harbor plumbing pipes. If you are leaving your home vacant for any period of time, make sure to leave the interior heat on and set it to about 60 degrees.
Inspect the exterior of your home and seal any visible cracks with caulk or spray foam insulation. Make sure to disconnect any hoses and turn off water to outside outlets. Close any foundation or exterior vents.
Call an Expert
If you need help winterizing your home, call a professional. The Philadelphia plumbers at Affordable Fixes LLC will help ensure that your home will be safe from bursting pipes this winter and avoid costly water and flood damages in your home. Call us today for peace of mind.