AUSTIN (KXAN) — We’ve got a few more days of winter weather before a gradual warmup.
Many Central Texans are wondering what they can do to save money. Last year, the federal government announced Americans can expect to pay more for natural gas this winter.
KXAN’s Amanda Dugan spoke with HVAC Manager for ABACUS Plumbing, Air Conditioning & Electrical, Vic Fredlund, about how homeowners can best prepare.
AD: What are some tips you have to help people save some money during the winter?
VF: From a helpful standpoint of things people can do for themselves. Simple things, the sunlight coming into your windows during the day, it’s going to help warm the house a little bit. So leaving your curtains open blinds open during the day, well take advantage of that sunlight to warm up the house.
By contrast, in the evenings, windows just are not as well insulated as walls are. So if you close your blinds or close your curtains if they’re especially heavy drapes, it’ll help kind of form another barrier to keep some of that cold air from intruding during the night. Flues on the fireplace, by all means keep that flue closed when you’re not using it. Ceiling fans, most people don’t know the ceiling fans can actually be running reverse. If you reverse your ceiling fan, it’ll help actually circulate that warm air back down below.
Weather stripping and caulking around doors and windows. If you’re anywhere near your doors, windows and you feel a draft, all of that is coming into the house and affecting the way your house is able to retain heat. Attic insulation, all the heat that you’re producing with your system. If you’re losing that heat through the attic, then you’re not doing yourself any favors.
From an efficiency standpoint, smart thermostats are another one that people don’t really think of, you turn the thermostat lower when you leave, let it get a little cooler and house, turn it back up when you’re on your way home. Or even when you go to bed. When you’re under the blankets turn the heat down, turn it back up before you get up to where to kind of save a little bit here and there.
AD: Can you go over some common issues that tend to pop up when households do turn out the heater after so long?
VF: No matter how good you are maintaining your filtration, clean filters, dust is going to get by them. It’s going to collect on on your heat exchanger if it’s gas system, or it’s going to collect on on the electric heat strips. If it’s an electric, the first time you fire it off, it’s going to burn that dust off. So you’re going to get that burning smell. Sometimes it can be bad enough and it may even set up a smoke detector. It’s normal. It’s disconcerting. But by and large, it’s a normal thing.
AD: We’ll likely see cold temperatures again. How can households plan?
VF: Don’t wait until you really want the heat. Try your heater, make sure it’s working. So the best thing I can suggest as far as preparation, make sure your filters are clean. Check your heat, make sure it’s working first and honestly really get it [inspected by maintenance]. There’s going to be things we’re going to help you from an efficiency standpoint and mechanical standpoint to make sure it’s working and working properly and working efficiently. If you get preventive maintenance done and inspections gone on.