tips for buying materials for home improvement projects

« Back to Home

Three Things That Are Costing You Money On Your Utilities

Posted on

Every house has it's inefficiencies, but you can do a lot to make sure that yours is running as cost-effectively as possible. There are some ways you can save on your heating and cooling bill, along with your gas and electricity usage. The following are common problems or mistakes that homeowners have that may actually be costing them a lot of money in wasted energy.

1. Keeping Your Doors Closed.

You may be trying to cut costs during the winter and summer by closing doors to certain rooms. The idea behind this is that you pay to heat less space at one time. This is a good idea in theory, but closing your doors actually has the power to drive your heating bills higher.

Your house is a system of flowing air. Air goes into the furnace, is heated, and then is sent out to different rooms through the vents. When you close a door, the flow of air is interrupted. Even if you close the vents in the room, some air from the furnace still enters the room, and closed vents prevent cold air return from the room.The doors creates a pressurized system, and the warm air in the room looks for a way to escape. Often, the easiest way is through the windows, especially if the windows are poorly sealed.

Meanwhile, because you have cut off air from a portion of the house, the rest of the house needs to add air to the system to make up for the air being lost to the closed room. Minute amounts of colder air are drawn into the house to replace the air lost to the closed room, making your furnace work harder to warm it, instead re-warming air that is already in the house. 

2. Uninsulated Pipes

Another central cost on your utility charges is heating the water that you use on a daily basis. When your heated water leaves the heater and flows through the pipes to the shower, faucet, or washing machine, heat is lost to the cooler pipes and into the surrounding air. Therefore, you have to pay to heat your water to a higher temperature in order to account for subsequent heat loss after it leaves the tank.

The cost to insulate pipes on your own is not very high, and the savings per year (around $12) seem miniscule. However, twenty years of $12 is plenty of money that could have been spent elsewhere. If you'll be living in your house for a while, or if you have an extensive plumbing system, insulating your pipes can only help. 

3. Overusing Your Hot Water Heater 

Many people pay to heat water, only to waste it or to temper it with cold water. If you turn on the tap and have to adjust the temperature because the water is scalding, you are paying too much for heating your water. You can easily turn down the thermostat for your system. In fact, lowering the thermostat on your heater by just ten degrees Fahrenheit saves you around 5% on your overall heating costs. 

Another way you can save money with your water heating costs is by making sure that you have your water tank insulated. You might also consider choosing a tankless water heating system, which only heats water on demand. This way, you only heat the water you will be using, and you don't need to pay to keep water stored at a certain temperature. Experts believe that a tankless system saves about 30% in energy costs

For more advice on how you can save money by upgrading your heating and plumbing, contact a professional contractor or plumber for quotes and additional ideas.