High energy bills can hint at various problems around the home that are causing temperature variations and putting a strain on HVAC systems. Fortunately, many such issues are fairly easy to identify, and pretty easy and affordable to fix. Here’s what you need to know.
Seal Any Cracks and Gaps
One of the most common causes of temperature fluctuations is poorly insulated windows and doors. If they’re not properly sealed, they can allow cold air to enter your home in winter, or allow it to escape in summer. Even if you have double pane windows, if the weather-stripping is worn, it won’t be as effective — the same applies to weather-stripping on doors. Take a moment to seal any gaps and cracks, and make sure to check the entry points for plumbing and wiring as well.
Check Your Vents and Ducts
Proper air flow is important in maintaining a constant temperature in your home. If your air ducts are blocked by dust, this can impact the effectiveness of furnaces and AC units. Similarly, if an air vent is covered by curtains or furniture, they can also lead to uneven temperatures. Make sure that your air ducts and vents are clean, and not obstructed in any way.
Keep Doors and Windows Closed
This is particularly important especially if you have an AC unit, but also if you’re trying to keep your house warm without a spike in your electricity bill. In the summer, closing the door to the room you’re in will ensure that the air conditioning doesn’t take too long to cool it. Meanwhile, in winter, your heater won’t have to struggle to reach the desired temperature. Keeping doors shut is especially important for rooms that need to be aired more often than others, such as bathrooms and kitchens. So if you need to air out the steam after a shower or cooking smells, make sure the doors are shut in the process, to prevent temperature spikes in the rest of your home.
Use Window Drapes or Shutters
Window treatments can make a great difference when it comes to fixing temperature fluctuations simply because windows are more responsible for cold or hot air escaping than walls. To prevent this, you can use either shutters or blinds, or even curtains and drapes. In the summer, they will prevent your room from getting too hot due to the sun beating down on them. Also, in winter, even a curtain can create a layer of insulation that will keep temperature changes off by a few degrees.
Install a Smart Thermostat
A programmable thermostat is ideal if you want to keep the temperature in your home at a comfortable level. Setting it to a desired level is no longer enough — in order to help you cut down your energy bills, you should also be able to program it by the hour, and even by the day. The ability to custom program a thermostat is especially important in winter, when sudden drops in temperature can result in your pipes freezing and bursting. Where you place your thermostat is just as essential, so think of which room you’re most likely to spend time in. If you can, upgrade your thermostat to a wireless one — that way you won’t have to worry about which wall it goes on, and you can just take it with you where you are in the house.
Make Sure Your Ceiling Fan Spins the Right Way
This energy saving trick is not only easy to implement, but also often overlooked. Ceiling fans don’t need a lot of energy to recirculate the air in the room and keep the temperature even, yet the way the blades spin plays an important role. In the summer, set your ceiling fan to spin counterclockwise, so that the cold air is pushed down, effectively cooling the room. In winter, set it to spin clockwise, so that the warm air drops down from the ceiling and is recirculated into the room.