Winter Savings Series: The time to prepare for winter is now
Winter is just around the corner and there are many factors that can affect your energy bills during a Texas cold snap, including the type of heater, how old it is and whether your home has proper insulation.
As your trusted energy adviser, CoServ wants our Members and Customers to know the small things they can do to reduce energy usage.
Everything begins and ends with the thermostat because it controls what’s typically the largest energy user in your house, the heating and air conditioning system. In the winter, CoServ recommends setting it at 68 degrees because every degree above that increases heating costs by up to 5 percent as the heater comes on more often and stays on.
The type of heater is also important. There are three types of heaters: natural gas heaters, electric resistance heaters and electric heaters with heat pumps.
- Natural gas heaters are the most cost-effective because they utilize most of the energy in natural gas and can heat a space more rapidly.
- Electric heaters with heat pumps are in the middle. The heat pump can handle typical winter weather effectively but once temperatures get near freezing, the backup resistance coils kick in, which is more energy intensive and costly.
- Electric resistance heaters, meanwhile, cost the most to operate.
Other factors, such as the number of windows as well as the direction those windows face, the height of your ceilings and whether you have an adequately sized heating system can all affect your bill. Just like in the summer, it’s important to utilize blinds or curtains in the winter to trap heat in and keep cold out.
For homes with electric hot water heaters, set the thermostat at 120 degree Fahrenheit and buy an insulated jacket to help keep the tank warm if it’s in the garage or attic but be sure to avoid covering any vents.
WINTER PREP TIPS:
- HVAC: Have a licensed HVAC contractor check your heating system now before cold temperatures arrive.
- NATURAL GAS APPLIANCES: Have a specially trained natural gas plumber check your appliances, especially if they aren’t used during the offseason.
- FILTERS: The changing seasons is a great time to change your air filters.
- FIREPLACE: Ensure the chimney flue is cleaned out and free of debris before you light any fires. Close and seal flue when not in use.
- SMOKE ALARMS/CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTOR: Change the batteries and test the devices to make sure they are working properly.
Notice a burning smell the first time you turn on the heater?
Usually, this is because dust builds up in the heater during the offseason so when it’s turned on for the first time each season, the dust is consumed, creating a smell.