Are you doing everything you can to keep the cost of heating your home down this winter?
In the southeastern part of the state the time for preemptive action is running out. Here are some steps to lower heating costs South Dakota homes face.
Bundle Your Home for South Dakota Winter
Lowering your heating costs is easy when broken down into little projects. You can easily knock some of these out this weekend, either solo or with a partner.
1. Cheat Your Thermostat Down
Most homes are kept at about 70° F during the winter, but with a few more blankets and a bit of acclimating you can get away with 68° or a bit lower. At night, you should program the thermostat to drop to about 60° – again, just have some good blankets handy.
Estimates vary, but most sources suggest you could save 3% on heating costs for every degree you drop below 70.
Just make sure you don’t lower the temperature too fast!
2. Test the Draft
You can hire someone to come in and do this, but it’s a luxurious expense. Instead, with a stick of low-cost incense it’s easy to test the airflow yourself and see if (or where) your warm air is leaking out.
Get all the exhaust fans running, light the incense and hold it close to windows, doors, and electrical outlets. The smoke should be lifting toward the ceiling, but it will blow sideways if you need to plug a spot up.
(If you’re questioning ductwork efficiency, Intek offers free inspections of your system.)
Negate your heat loss by covering those leaks!
3. Fill-in Door Thresholds
If sunlight is able to peek through your apartment or front door, money is leaking out through the threshold. Stop that escaping air to save money and keep your home cozy!
Take a look at your threshold to start. If it’s held in with screws, you might be able to back them out, adjusting the piece’s height to plug the gap. Just don’t go so high you’re impeding the door’s opening or closing.
If that’s not an option, you’ll need to look into extra weatherstripping.
4. Plug Those Electrical Outlets
With all the tech your family or housemates use, having a bunch of outlets available is great — until the cold sets in.
Insulation doesn’t always get placed very well around and behind your electric boxes. Remove the cover plates and fill in spaces around the outlet with acrylic latex caulk or foam sealant. Then place a foam gasket over the outlet or switch and replace the cover plate.
A great part about this fix? It’s a one-time solution!
5. Grab a Portable Heater
Speaking of those electric outlets…
Space heaters can push a lot of warmth into the main room or rooms your household uses, letting you turn down the thermostat everywhere else. Just make sure to work out how much the added electric cost is against the decreased furnace use!
Also, if you’re investing in a space heater, don’t go cheap. Look for one that lets you adjust the temperature by degrees instead of vague settings, switches off if it’s tipped over, and works well in the size room you’re looking to heat.
6. Wrap Your Windows
Windows are easily the biggest offenders when it comes to heat loss. Unless your windows are perfectly sealed, wrapping your windows is possibly the best way to lower heating costs South Dakota winters impose on your budget.
Kits to seal your windows and patio doors with transparent film are pretty cheap. You can easily put them on without damaging window trim, and they’ll peel right off in spring.
Start by measuring your windows so you know what size kit to buy. Then, get them set up along your windows and seal with a hair dryer on low heat.
To pinch more pennies, you might be able to use bubble wrap and scotch or double sided tape, but be careful not to damage walls or trims.
Try not to sacrifice curtain function for the window wrappings if you can help it. You’ll still want to be able to let the sun through during the day to give your furnace a helping hand, and close blinds at night to seal the warmth in.
7. Free the Heating Registers
We see this mistake too often. Your registers are pumping that warm air in, so set them up for success. Having a couch or table over the opening is preventing the flow into the room.
8. Seal Leaks in Your Ductwork
A huge way to lose out on energy efficiency is by letting leaks in your heating ducts go unchecked.
If ducts have pulled apart, especially at seams or corners, the heat you’re paying for might be rolling away into the basement or attic. We offer free inspections of ducts, in case yours are winding into hard-to-reach places. You could be losing up to 30% of your air to these gaps.
Even if you’ve sealed the leaks, a buildup of dirt could be affecting your efficiency.
Improve Heating Efficiency with Professional Duct Cleaning
Before the cold sets in, set yourself up for a warm winter that doesn’t break the bank. Intek Cleaning is proud to lower heating costs in South Dakota with yearly furnace and ductwork cleanings in the fall.
Learn more about INTEK duct cleaning »