Harsh winter weather can test Pennsylvanians’ homes and wallets. Energy use soars during those frosty months as we spend more time indoors fending off the cold. Furnaces, water heaters, and light bulbs put in more hours, leading to higher bills and wear and tear on the exterior and infrastructure of a home. For year-round protection, Duquesne Light Co., in partnership with HomeServe, offers several service and repair plans to get top performance out of your home’s vital systems.
Take the time this fall to ensure your essential hardware and systems are functional and operating smoothly. These six steps are the best way to have a warm, cozy, and efficient winter at home.
Prep Your Water Heater
Hot water supply is at the top of most folks’ lists regarding essential needs to pass through winter comfortably. Your hot water demands are bound to increase from November through February. Now is the time to check for any issues. You don’t want a water heater to give out during your morning shower!
Inspect your tank and pipes for cracks, rust stains, or corrosion. Check that the vents are unobscured and protected with mesh barriers to prevent snow drifts and wildlife from creeping. It would be best if you also considered turning down the temperature. Because your heater works harder to raise water temperature when it’s cold outside, lowering it by a few degrees will save you money. Adding insulation to your tank and pipes will also help make the system more efficient.
For more peace of mind, consider Duquesne Light Co., and HomeServe’s water heater repair and replacement program to monitor the appliance’s health and avoid being hit with a costly bill.
Upgrade or Insulate Your Windows
The U.S. Department of Energy notes that up to 30% of a home’s heating or cooling needs come from inefficient windows. If your windows are relatively new, check that they’re ready to handle the cold snap. Look for air leaks around the edges and cracks in the weatherstripping or caulking. You can usually replace worn parts yourself. Invest in a window insulation kit for optimal efficiency. These kits include a plastic film that covers gaps between the window and the frame, reducing air leakage. You can also change your window coverings to be more energy efficient. Cellular shades are one of the best options for reducing heat loss during the winter.
If you have older windows, consider upgrading them to more energy-efficient models. The cost of upgrading to dual-pane windows can be high, but your energy savings will be noticeable over the long term. If you’re considering an upgrade, Duquesne Light Co., can help guide your family through an energy audit to find the best ways to reduce your energy usage in the home. They also offer resources for homeowners to secure funding and rebates for many home energy upgrades.
Insulate Your Attic
Heat rises, so the first place you’ll lose warm air is through the roof. Check that your attic is adequately insulated and make any necessary adjustments. Not sure? Think back to last year’s snowmelt patterns. If the snow on your roof melted significantly faster than in other places, your attic might need insulation work. Remember to add insulation over the door, too.
Service Your Furnace
Home HVAC systems need routine maintenance, and fall is a great time to make sure that your furnace is in tip-top condition. A professional can make small adjustments to the furnace for optimal functioning as well as notice any problems before they become dangerous. Throughout the winter, make sure to regularly change your furnace filter. A dirty filter traps the hot air near the furnace and drives up your heating bill.
Switch to a Smart Thermostat
The U.S. Department of Energy suggests investing in a smart thermostat to optimize your home’s energy usage. These Wi-Fi-enabled devices let you quickly program various temperature changes. You can also adjust the temperature manually from your mobile device. Many systems allow you to track your temperature changes over time and see suggestions for more efficient programs. If you’re shopping for a new system, head to Duquesne Light Co.’s Marketplace. It offers several options for thermostat systems along with coupons and discounts.
Use Energy-Efficient Lighting
During the darker days of winter, you use more artificial light. Reduce your energy usage by investing in light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs for your lamps and overhead fixtures. LED bulbs come in various sizes and light colors, so you can easily find replacements for any outdated bulbs. In addition to LED bulbs, set lights on timers to avoid leaving them on overnight or when you’re away from home. For outdoor lighting, choose bulbs that have light sensors. These sensors will automatically turn the lights on when it’s dusk and off when it’s dawn.
You can avoid energy loss during the winter season by making a few meaningful changes in your home. If you’re unsure what upgrades to prioritize, need assistance navigating winter energy bills, or want recommendations for energy-efficient fixtures, the professionals at Duquesne Light Co., are here to help. A more energy-efficient home is good for you, the environment, and our Pittsburgh community.