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Reducing Your Heating Bill

As we approach November, you will undoubtedly be turning on the heat, if you haven’t already. After all, we have had some cool nights here in the Myrtle Beach area over the past week or so.

The Energy Information Administration reports that this winter’s heating fuel costs should be $928 for the average household, down from $947 last winter. Not a big savings, but down is always better than up when it comes to costs for heating your home.

If you want to find ways for reducing your heating bill even further this season, consider giving some of these free or low-cost tips a try.

1. Tap heat that’s there anyway. There are plenty of activities you do around the house that generate warmth, such as cooking a meal or taking a shower. When you shower, keep the bathroom door open so steam spreads to other rooms, and don’t turn a ventilation fan on; it will rapidly remove the warm air you’re hoping to keep around.

wearing socks will help in reducing your heating bill this winter2. Learn to love socks. If your feet are cold, your whole body will feel cold, so make a point of wearing socks around the house in the winter. The next step if you’re still feeling cold: Bundle up in a sweater or a blanket rather than cranking up the heat.

3. Lower your thermostat. You likely won’t notice a huge difference if you turn it down just a couple of degrees, a move that can shave 5 percent to 10 percent off your heating bill. It’s especially wise to turn down the heat whenever you leave your home for several hours. Just be careful not to turn it back up too far too fast when you get back home if you heat with a heat pump, or you may drive your heating costs up even further than if you just left the setting alone while you were away. Reducing your heating bill with a heat pump is a little trickier than using gas or oil to heat your home.

If you’re going away on vacation during the winter, be absolutely sure to set your heat down before you go. 60 degrees is plenty warm enough if your home is going to be vacant for days or a week. Again, gradually warm the house back up when you return.

4. Watch the water heater. It’s also not likely to be noticeable if you turn down the thermostat on your water heater to, say, 120 degrees from about 140 degrees.

5. Don’t let heat escape unnecessarily. Keep your doors and windows shut when the heat is on. If your home has a fireplace that you aren’t using, be sure the flue is closed and glass doors are in place to minimize heat loss. In addition to those bathroom ventilation fans, turn kitchen ventilation fans off when they aren’t needed.

6. Consider a programmable thermostat. They cost between $30 and $100, but it’s money you’re sure to make back over the course of a year because you’re reducing your heating bills. A programmable thermostat allows you to adjust the heat on a predetermined schedule, so you can lower the heat when you’re not home or when you’re sleeping. Read our article on how to Save Energy with a Programmable Thermostat.

7. Call for a checkup. Proper maintenance will help your heating unit run more efficiently. Electric and oil heaters should get professional attention at least once a year and gas heaters every other year. Also, here’s a step you can take all on your own: Remember to check the filters in your heating system and make sure they’re clean and clear. Dirty filters lead to higher heating costs.

No matter what type of heating system you have, reducing your heating bill should be a priority. Brown and Reaves Services can help by giving your heating system a full tune-up for the winter. Call us today. 843-497-9867. And don’t forget to Like us on Facebook and grab your 20% off coupon on our next service call.

Minimize Heating Costs This Holiday Season

Minimize your heating costs this holiday seasonWith the holiday season just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about ways to minimize heating costs, while at the same time, enjoying your holidays in comfort.

There are steps you can take to reduce cold-weather expenses of a warm house. These simple tips can help you minimize heating costs without causing a lot of discomfort. Your wallet will thank you later.

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Ways to Minimize Heating Costs

Change Air Filters

It’s easy to forget this simple task, but it can make a big difference for the household budget. Dirty filters add to heating costs and filters should be checked at least once a month.

Weather Stripping

Outside air pours in around poorly insulated windows and doors. Proper weather stripping keeps the cold air out and the heat in and therefore minimize your heating costs.

Try this simple test: Light a candle and hold it near windows and doors to see if the flame flickers or the smoke moves in a horizontal direction. If it moves, you need to seal the area with weather stripping or add some sort of insulating material.

Here’s an idea to stop drafts under doors.

Check Water Heater

Long, hot showers add dollars to your monthly heating costs. The U.S. Department of Energy says that each 10-degree reduction in water temperature saves between 3 and 5 percent in annual energy costs. The DOE recommends a temperature of 120 degrees and adds that this temperature slows mineral buildup and corrosion in the water heater and pipes. This also saves you in the long run by reducing service calls to repair or replace your water heater.

Bright Light

Sunshine is a natural mood enhancer, but it can also help with energy costs. At night, close blinds, shades and drapes to reduce heat loss. On sunny days, on the southern side of your home, open everything up and let Mother Nature help with heating costs.

Check Air Ducts

Even brand-new homes have duct leakage. In fact, the average home loses 20 to 30 percent of its heat through the ducts. Having someone assess your ducts and remedy any leakages can greatly decrease the amount written on the check for your heating costs each month.

Check Heating Unit

If heating costs seem unusually high, clear any debris off the exterior unit and check for fluid around the unit. Fluid may indicate blockage of the condensation drain and pan.

Turn Off Vent Fan

In the winter, bath and kitchen vents should be used minimally. These vents push inside air and moisture outside, letting heat escape. A small oscillating fan or ceiling fan in your bathroom and kitchen to move the moist air is a better choice than turning on that vent and letting your room heat escape along with the moisture. Since homes are much drier during heating season, some moisture in your bath and kitchen is not a bad thing to offset the dryness you may feel from the heat running.

 

Call us today before you turn up the heat. We may be able to offer you other ways to save on heating costs without draining your checkbook to pay your electric bill. Brown and Reaves Services, Inc., 843-497-9867. Don’t forget to LIKE US on Facebook and grab your 20% off discount coupon on your next service call.

Don’t Burn The House Down Trying To Save Money On Heating

As temperatures plummet and heating subsidies sit on the government’s chopping block, cash-strapped consumers may look to alternative options for heating their home this winter.

While many of these options can be used safely, they can create a risk of fire and other hazards if they’re not carefully installed and maintained.

A fire or other catastrophe could more than cancel out the savings from using alternative energy. Here’s how to lower your risk:

  1. Only use items intended for heating. Experts advise against using a propane grill or kitchen oven to stay warm, because materials in or near those devices could ignite, causing a fire. Always use the type of fuel intended for your device.Wooden Fireplace
  2. Choose your heating device carefully. Not all heating devices are created equal. Look for heating devices that have been tested by an independent laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL). If so, the UL label should appear on the packaging. Newer ceramic space heaters tend to pose less of a fire hazard than the space heaters used a few decades ago. If you’re taking an old heater out of the attic, make sure the cord isn’t frayed. Avoid using an extension cord with a space heater, but if you must, a No. 14-gauge or larger wire is your safest option.
  3. Get it professionally installed. If you’re using a stationary device such as a pellet or wood stove or a fireplace, it’s a good idea to have it installed by a professional technician. They’re going to know things like how far to place it from the wall and the type of chimney or flue that should be installed. If you do decide to go the DIY route, be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and consider having it inspected either by the building inspector or the fire marshal in your community. Also find out if your community requires a permit for a fireplace or stove.
  4. Maintain your devices. Regular maintenance, like having your stove or chimney inspected annually, can help prevent fire hazards such as an animal nesting your chimney during the off-season. The device’s manual should contain instructions on maintenance but not everyone reads it carefully enough. It’s really important that you only operate the heat system along the lines of the label requirements. For instance, most devices should be placed on a noncombustible base. They sell mats you can put down to make sure that it’s not sitting on a floor covering that’s combustible.

You’ll also need a noncombustible container with a lid for removing ashes from a fireplace or stove. Even with metal containers, after you empty the stove or the fireplace, store it outside.

With any alternative heating option, it’s important to have a working smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector. Test the alarms at least once a month and replace the batteries twice a year. As you change your clocks [for daylight savings], it’s a good reminder to change the batteries.

Tips To Reduce Heating Bills

During the winter, most Americans experience low temperatures and an increase in utility bills, especially for the cost of heating their homes. Each year, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, approximately 43 percent of utility costs go toward heating and cooling. With even warm states experiencing an unusually cold winter this year, more Americans are unprepared for the additional costs associated with keeping their house warm. Here are a few ways you can help reduce your Myrtle Beach home heating costs.

  • Use Available Resources. You could save approximately 10 percent a year by purchasing a programmable thermostat which automatically turns down the heat at night or when you are not at home. Try setting your thermostat as low as is comfortable and instead wear warmer clothing, make use of blankets and put flannel sheets on your bed.
  • Insulate to Safeguard Heat. Up to 60 percent of warm air can be lost even before it reaches the register if your ducts are not insulated. The ducts in your attic and crawlspaces should be sealed. Otherwise, both money and energy will be wasted.
  • Clean Filters and Registers. Make sure you clean or replace filters on furnaces as needed. In addition, clean warm-air registers throughout your home, baseboard heaters and Myrtle Beach Heating and Air Conditioning Tipsradiators. Also, double-check they are not blocked by furniture, drapes or any other obstruction.
  • Conserve Warmth for Rooms Used. Close off access to registers in rooms not being uses. If you only use your spare bedroom when guests visit, you can avoid pumping warm air into an under-utilized space.
  • Prevent Heat Loss from the Water Heater. Insulation blankets are not very expensive (typically under $20) and are specifically designed to reduce the loss of heat. Simply wrap the blanket around the hot water heater, especially if you have an unheated basement.
  • Buy Green. If you are in a situation where it’s necessary to install new equipment altogether, make sure to select energy efficient products. They will cost more upfront, but the lifelong costs will be lower, and you will decrease your energy “footprint.”

Have any other tips or suggestions for ways our readers can save on their heating bill? We’d love to hear from you. Just use the “comment” link below to add your tip here. Your email address will never be published on this website.

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