Al’s Plumbing, Heating & A/C in Plano, Texas provides maintenance & repairs for all brands of Central A/C, Gas & Electric Furnace, and Heat Pumps.  Additionally we sell and install new HVAC Systems from American Standard (same company as Trane), Ameristar (same company as American Standard) and Coleman HVAC (same company as York HVAC).

Al’s also provides full service plumbing maintenance, repairs and replacements for every plumbing component in your home.  Al’s sells and installs Rheem Professional Series gas & electric water heaters, and tankless water heaters.  Al’s is near your home in northeast Dallas, Richardson and Garland.  We service all homes in southern Collin and Denton Counties with no additional travel charges.

Call Al’s today to discuss any concerns or problems you have with your HVAC System or Plumbing.  We will arrange an appointment at your convenience and offer 24/7 Emergency Service.

20 Ways To Lower Heating Costs

To Read Part 1 Of This Article, Click Here: Lower Heating Costs: Part 1 of 3

To Read Part 2 Of This Article, Click Here: Lower Heating Costs: Part 2 of 3

 

14. Weatherstripping Exterior Doors Will Lower Heating Costs

entry door on home

Image Source: Photo by Hilary Halliwell from Pexels

Exterior Doors & Windows Account For 21% Of Heat Loss In A Typical Home

Exterior Doors can be a large source of air leakage.   This Is Due To:

1. Gaps around the sides & top of the door.  This weather stripping is typically metal and does not wear out.  If it does, you will see daylight at the edges of the door.

2. Gap below the door.  This weatherstripping is likely rubber or plastic and wears out over the years due to use.  This occurs more frequently because the weatherstripping is attached to the door’s bottom OR attached to the threshold (you walk on it).

Click To See An Exterior Door’s Thermal-Image.

Exterior Door Leaking Air Into A Home At Bottom & Lower Right Side

(In thermal images, Purple & Blue are COLD air.  Yellow, Orange, & Red are WARM — HOT air.)

 

15. Fireplace Damper

fireplace with fire burning

Image Source: Photo by Juan Pablo Arenas from Pexels

Many wood-burning fireplace dampers don’t seal well because they warp due to the high levels of heat they are exposed to.  They are metal and subject to rusting too.  You can lower heating costs by installing an Inflatable Fireplace Balloon.  This inflatable balloon seals off the fireplace damper.  If you forget the balloon and create a fire, the balloon will deflate (though it must be replaced).  NOTE: The rod below the fireplace balloon (shown below) reaches to the bottom of the firebox (to hold the balloon in place).   This rod will serve as a visual reminder the fireplace balloon is in place.

Click Here To See A Fireplace Damper Not Capable Of Sealing Tightly: Loose Fitting Fireplace Damper

 

Click On Photo To: View Product, See Details, or Purchase From Amazon.com

Shown: Inflatable Fireplace Balloon For Wood burning Fireplace.  This suggestion is for wood-burning fireplaces.

Wood burning fireplaces converted to gas logs cannot have a closing damper.   Building code requires venting for gas fireplaces (up a flue).  Once converted they are now considered a gas burning appliance (just like a water heater) and require venting.  If a damper exists, gas fireplaces (of converted to gas) are required to have a damper-clamp installed to keep the damper open at all times.  If your gas fireplace has a damper-clamp, there have a 4″–6″ opening /  hole that is constantly allowing heat out of your home.

Click Here To See A Gas Fireplace Damper With A “Flue Clamp”: Gas Fireplace Damper (open) Clamp

 

IF you have access inside the fire chamber (you can touch the gas logs), there are also smaller Fireplace Balloons designed for gas fireplace vents (gas fireplace vents are typically 4-6″ openings).  Note: With A Flue Damper Clip, you would need to remove the damper in order to use the balloon.

NOTE: Direct-Vent Gas Fireplaces don’t allow access inside the fire chamber.  Because a direct-vent fireplace draws combustion-air from outside, the fire chamber is sealed.   Direct-Vent Gas Fireplaces do not require a chimney.  They can be vented directly through the wall.   You cannot use a fireplace balloon with a direct vent fireplace.

Click Here To See The Vent For A Direct-Vent Fireplace: Direct-Vent Gas Fireplace Vent (as seen from outside).

Click On Photo To: View Product, See Details, or Purchase From Amazon.com

 Shown: 9 x 9″ Inflatable Fireplace Damper For Gas, Natural Vent Fireplaces with operable openings (you are able to touch the gas logs).

 

16. Open A Nearby Window When Running The Clothes Dryer

home washer and dryer

Image Source: Pixabay

This tip will lower heating costs more than you may image.  Your clothes dryer exhausts tremendous amounts of heated or cooled air from your home.  Drying dry clothes uses more energy that you might think because the dryer is removing air from the house the entire time it’s running.  A clothes dryer exhausts 14,500 cubic foot of air per hour while it’s operating. *  A 2,000 square foot house with 8 foot ceilings has 16,000 cubic feet of air.   It takes a dryer just 67 minutes to exhaust all the heated / cooled air from the entire house.

This can be mostly prevented by opening the window closest to the dryer while it’s running.  The dryer will pull in outside air instead of removing heated or cooled air from the home.

* Source: http://www.advancedthermalimaging.ca/default2.asp?active_page_id=104

17. Make The Most Of The Heat You Already Have

You can lower heating costs by bringing the warmer air at the ceiling down.  The air at the ceiling can be as much as +15 warmer that at the floor during cold weather.  Make use of the heat you have already paid for by bringing it to you.

Use your ceiling fan — blowing UP in winter.  Set your ceiling fan to low speed with it spinning clockwise (blowing upward) to move warm air near the ceiling down into the room (air moves along the walls).  This will also reduce the temperature difference between the floor & ceiling, making the room more comfortable.

No Ceiling Fan?  Add a small fan sitting on the floor and blowing up.  This will help mix the coldest air in the room with the warmest air at the ceiling.  To avoid a draft, put the fan as far from the seating area as possible.

Click On Photo To: View Product, See Details, or Purchase From Amazon.com

Note: This fan can be adjusted to several positions, from blowing forward (as show) to blowing straight upward.

 

18. Use Heat Created By Other Sources

There are plenty of activities you do around the house that generate warmth and lower heating costs.

  • In winter, when you are done with your shower, leave the bathroom door open so the heat & humidity can move into other rooms.
  • You are throwing a lot of heat down the drain when bathing.  You may choose to close the bathtub drain and drain the water once cools.
  • Open the dishwasher as soon as it’s done.  This will be another notable source of heat and humidity in winter.
  • Move furniture so you are sitting near interior walls.  Exterior walls are colder, and those with windows are colder yet.
  • Your wood-burning exhaust about 24,000 cubic feet heated air (up the chimney each) each hour.  Open the window (closest to the fireplace) a few inches.  This allows the fireplace to pull outside air from the closest location in the home.  Otherwise it pulls air in at every location where the house leaks air.
  • If you have hardwood floors, add area-rugs in seating areas.  This provides some insulation when your feet are on the floor.  It will also help with the overall heat loss of the room.
  • Buy heavier clothes for when you are relaxing at home.  Sweat shirts and pants come in a variety of thicknesses.  Buy the fabric-weight you prefer and slow the rate of body-heat loss.
  • Buy a cotton thermal-blanket to cover yourself while relaxing.  Cotton will slow the loss of body-heat without getting you too warm.
  • Add cotton thermal-blankets to your bed.  They are good for use year round, simply add or remove layers until you are comfortable.

19. Add Additional Heat Where You Are Located

You can lower heating costs by up to 10% a year by turning your thermostat back 7°-10°F (from its usual setting) for 8 hours each day.  While this tip is great for those who’s home is unoccupied while they are at work, the tip can fall short of useful if the home is always occupied.  By adding additional heat in the immediate area where you are, you can be as warm as you want with the thermostat set lower.  This can also be a great way to have a cooler bedroom for sleeping if that appeals to you.  The house can begin cooling off while you are relaxing during the evening.

Put an electric space heater in the places you use most.  This allows you to lower heating costs by setting the thermostat lower and keeping only the space you are occupying comfortably warm.  The rest of the house will be cooler but you’ll be warm.  You save up to 2% on heating costs for every degree the thermostat is set below 70.

An electric heater uses 1500 watts will cost around 10.5 cents per hour to operate on its highest setting.  That said, they are a great way to lower heating costs without sacrificing comfort.

NOTE: Do not any space heaters that are not electric inside your home.  Unvented Fuel-Burning Space Heaters exhaust carbon monoxide into your home.  It is a by-product of burning any type of fuel.  Fuel burning space heaters are intended for areas which have above average ventilation, such as a garage.

NOTE:  Don’t leave electric heaters unattended.  When leaving the room, shutting it off eliminates all risk.

 

20. Establish Lifestyle Habits That Reduce Heating Costs

Establish Heating-Cost Savings Lifestyle Habits.   You can lower heating costs by adopting new lifestyle habits.

  • Check and replace your furnace filter (as needed) each month.  A dirty filter extends the amount of time the furnace must run.  A clogged air filter can cause a gas furnace to shut down in order to protect itself from overheating.
  • Don’t stand in open doorways while talking with someone outside the home.  Invite them in or step outside and close the door.
  • Reduce the use of bath vent fans during winter.  After your shower, turn the bath fan on for 5 minutes to remove only the most humid air (which rises to the ceiling).  Let the rest of the heat and humidity move into the home.
  • Be sure all your windows are locked to ensure the tightest seal.
  • If you have storm windows, close them too.
  • Close off 1 or 2 unused rooms and close their heat vent.  Keep in mind this affects your furnace’s air-flow, so limit closed registers to 1 or 2.
  • Close your wood-burning fireplace flue as soon as it’s cool.  Huge amounts of heat will rise out of your chimney if the damper is left open.
  • Minimize clothes dryer operating time by checking frequently to ensure it does not run after clothes are dry.
  • Keep your garage door closed, especially if living space is above it.

Other Worthwhile Things To Know

  • When you turn your heat down, the cost to return the temperature will be the same as what was saved while the house was cooling down.  You save money during the hours the heat was reduced. 
  • When you want your house warmer, set thermostat to only the temperature you want.  Turning the thermostat higher will not make the furnace heat faster, it only makes it heat longer, and to a temperature warmer than what you want.
  • If your home feels cooler on windy days, that’s because it is.  Wind accelerates heat lots by pulling warm air from the house (downwind side) through leaks. Wind pushes cold air into the home (upwind side – the side of the house the wind is blowing against) through leaks.
  • Humidity level can affect a home’s comfort.  If humidity is too low (which is common in DFW winter) the home will feel cooler than if humidity was at the right amount.  The ideal range is 30-50%.  *  Buy an indoor humidity gauge and add humidity when it drops below 40%.
SUMMARY:
     This article describes uncommon ways to reduce heating costs.  Most energy-saving articles talk about improving the house’s energy efficiency. This article concentrates to increasing insulation and sealing air leaks.    This article advises of many additional, inexpensive to modestly priced things you can do that will have a notable to substantial impact on both heating and cooling costs.   Some items are behavior changes.  We touch on thermostat setting,  and offer several additional ways to make the most of the heat you already have inside your home.
Al’s Plumbing, Heating & A/C in Plano, Texas provides maintenance & repairs for all brands of Central A/C, Gas & Electric Furnace, and Heat Pumps.  Additionally we sell and install new HVAC Systems from American Standard (same company as Trane), Ameristar (same company as American Standard) and Coleman HVAC (same company as York HVAC).

Al’s also provides full service plumbing maintenance, repairs and replacements for every plumbing component in your home.  Al’s sells and installs Rheem Professional Series gas & electric water heaters, and tankless water heaters.  Al’s is near your home in northeast Dallas, Richardson and Garland.  We service all homes in southern Collin and Denton Counties with no additional travel charges.

Call Al’s today to discuss any concerns or problems you have with your HVAC System or Plumbing.  We will arrange an appointment at your convenience and offer 24/7 Emergency Service.