If your cooling or heating costs bother you too, I suggest you to read this article to the end. All of us, based on where we live may use different ways with different costs to set our ideal temperature in our houses but it’s common between us that we want this ideal temperature at lowest cost. In this article, I want to share some simple tips and tricks (with almost no cost) with you to nail this goal and see the huge change in heating or cooling bills.
- Wear clothes according to current season
It’s correct that we have the right to wear whatever we want in our homes but it’s not rational ( and also economic) that our dress doesn’t reflect anything about the current season. Wear warmer and thicker clothes during winter and lighter and shorter clothes during summer time. That’s one of the main reasons why we pay for various kinds of clothes, so let it pay back! This one the most effective steps you can take in order to shrink your heating and cooling costs.
- Use your curtains wisely
Curtains aren’t only decorative parts of our houses. They are the second barrier layer (after window’s glass) against energy leakage through windows. During winter, keep curtains open so the sun rays can come in and make your inner space warm and bright (heating and lighting saving at once!) and during summer keep them closed to avoid the heat comes in. to check how effective this is, try it right now. Put your hand near glass of window and then compare its temperature to the situation when your hand is behind of your curtain. Try to choose thick curtains so it can do its protective function better. Curtains will save your valuable temperature inside your house from undesirable ambient temperature.
- Control ventilation grilles, cooling or heating registers and fireplace chimney
We all have many registers or grilles in our house that are supposed to blow air inside or outside our house. Block them with a layer of plastic and glue in the seasons that you don’t need or use them. Doing this, we won’t let our desired air flies out through useless ways and also won’t let dust and insect in! in my own flat, I’ve a fireplace which I’m not using and I could readily hear and feel air stream through its chimney, so the first thing I did was to block it with a plastic layer. Block the cooler registers in winters and fireplace chimney in summers. If you have a central air conditioning system in your house or flat and cooling and heating are provided via same registers, Don’t block them at all because in each season they are the only way for you to have an ideal temperature inside your house (Always keep your ACTIVE heating or cooling register UNBLOCKED).
- Don’t keep ventilation fans turned on more than needed.
If you have ventilation fans in your bathroom or kitchen, make sure to turn them off after you’re done with the ventilation. Doing this, you prevent from direct electricity waste and also keep your favorable air inside. Be aware that you have burnt electricity or gas or other fuels to have this temperature, so don’t send it away easily.
- Take maximum advantage of your radiators or heaters
Your radiators or heaters, radiate heat in all directions and these appliances are usually located adjacent to the walls. To take maximum heat out if it, place (or stick) an aluminum foil behind and under the radiator or heater as a reflector. Doing this, you’ll reflect the heat that was to waste from wall and floor and also you won’t see any soot on that wall in other seasons. There is a worse case that you should know. If your heating appliance is located near wall and under a window, make sure the curtain is not trapping all the heat from heating appliance between window and curtain because that heat will be wasted through the glass of window.
- If you’re alone at home, maybe you shouldn’t warm or cool it all
Most of us have special spots in our houses that we spend most of our times on them. If you’re alone in your house you don’t need to warm or cool all your rooms and space you can lower the radiator (or increase the cooling system temperature or even turn it off) temperature and use a portable heater (or cooler or fan) in your most used spots. If you are supposed to be host of your guests in few minutes you can turn on you heating or cooling system as usual. This is great strategy to control your energy demand.
- Don’t neglect cracks easily
Don’t let desirable and valuable air inside you home leaks through cracks and be replaced by too hot or cold ambient air. There may be gaps and cracks behind electrical boxes (plugs and switches) or around pipes or wires or cables which enters your house through the wall. At its best, they filled with plaster but after a while, plaster will be cracked too. Best solution is to caulk these cracks with silicon caulking or PVC glue or many other formulas available in market which fit your needs. Don’t forget about door frame or window frame. If they don’t match exactly to cover the gap between door and frame, you should use weather stripping rolls on your frame.
- Your lighting system shouldn’t be a heating source
The lamps that we buy for our house should be used for lighting, then making our house beautiful, and not for heating! Incandescent bulbs convert electricity to light and heat while we don’t want them to give us heat (our heating system does it with much better efficiency). Replace them with CFL or LED lamps. They consume less energy and emit more light and produce less heat. So you don’t need to turn you cooling system on just to compensate heat from lamps.
- Have double glazing windows (or try to make something like that).
If your house doesn’t have double (or more!) glazing windows, you should invest part of your income to spend on them because it’s great investment which pays you back in many ways, saving energy, reduction of noises and better life quality! But till the day you save enough money to change all your windows, you can do this easy and inexpensive trick to make your windows double glazing. Buy a bubble wrap roll and cut it into dimensions of your window’s glass. Wet the plain side of bubble wrap and put it on the glass. It will stick to the glass and it will reduce energy waste through the glass and also let the sun light pass. Whenever you have a guest, you can remove the bubble wraps to make you windows look as always and after that you can stick it again.
- If you have open kitchen, don’t let your stove warm your house
Leaving stove turned on for many hours (whether it’s uses gas or electricity) will waste lots of energy itself but if you have open kitchen (like most of Iranian flats) and you are accustomed to keeping water boiling for your tea all day long, then you’ll add extra heat (and CO2) to your house air. Again, you’re ruining your desirable temperature and should turn on your cooling system to compensate this heat. Turn off your stove right after you’re done with cooking.
- Use modern thermostats or timer switches
Thermostats or timer switches are best ways to control how your cooling or heating system is working. If you have a thermostat, you can set it on mediocre temperatures (don’t try to create a summer in your house when you are in winter! And vise versa) and let it decide when to start heating or cooling. If you are using traditional water coolers (like most of Iranians) install a timer switch for your cooler and set it as it turns off when you are asleep or away.
In this article, we studied some zero-cost solutions to lower your payment to have a favorable temperature at home. There are some other ways which cost you more but you should look at them as an investment for the future, they will return much more in a few years. As a general advice, keep it in mind that if you choose a house that is built with high quality in walls, ceiling, doors and windows isolation and also it has modern heating or cooling system (like under floor heating system), you may pay a few hundreds of dollars more per meter square, but be sure it will pay back very soon, plus you will experience wonderful quality of life during these years.