Western North Carolina is a haven for all four seasons. In the warmer weather you can hike, fish, white water raft, or visit Asheville or one of the many towns in the region, each with its own unique style. In the cooler months you can ski or tube down a slope filled with snow, or you can just sit by the fire and enjoy the crisp air next to a mountain stream.
Whether you have completely relocated to Western North Carolina for all four seasons or have come here for your favorite time of year, keeping your home warm in the most affordable way possible is a must, so we have put together some tips for how to save on heating costs:
Change Your Air Filter
The more dust your air filter collects over time, the harder the HVAC system has to work to keep your home warm. Vacation homes don’t need a replacement as often as a primary residence (a difference between replacing annually and monthly depending on the situation). Not only does a fresh filter improve the efficiency of your HVAC unit, but it also improves general air quality.
Turn Down the Temperature of Your Water Heater
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, heating our water is the second biggest use of electricity in the home (cooling and heating is the highest). Although manufacturers set the temperature at 140, most people are comfortable with the setting at 120. Experiment with the temperature to maximize your comfort as well as savings. If you are leaving your home for the season, try turning the water heater down even further, or off completely. Just keep in mind that when returning, it will take a few hours to get the water to a comfortable temperature.
Take Control of the Temperature with a Smart Thermostat
According to the Department of Energy, you can reduce your heating bill just by setting your thermostat back 7 to 10 degrees for about 8 hours a day from where you normally have it set. Instead of responding to the temperature by adjusting it on a day to day basis or when you feel hot or cold, program a smart thermostat to adjust the heat based on a plan of your own. This helps you to avoid impulse changes in the temperature. A smart thermostat also has the advantage of being adjusted remotely so you don’t have to worry about your pipes freezing if you leave for the season.
Seal the Leaks in Your House
This is best done once the temps have already dropped. Survey your home and see where hot air is escaping. Standard places to check are doors, windows and anywhere cabling or wiring enters the home. Check the entrance to the attic and basement. Light a candle to see if the smoke moves horizontally. Use caulk or weather stripping anywhere a leak is found.
Wear Warm Clothes
Before you act on the urge to turn the heat up, make sure everyone is wearing warm clothes, especially socks and a hat which is where our bodies lose heat. Why wear shorts inside with the thermostat set at 72 when you could be just as cozy with a comfy hat, slippers and sweater with the heat set at 68?
Take Advantage of the Sun
Why spend money on heat when the sun can help—and more importantly—is free? Pull the curtains aside during the day, especially rooms that get direct sun light, then keep the interior doors open and let the warm air flow. At night draw the curtains closed as an extra layer of insulation.
Do you enjoy Western North Carolina as much in the winter as you do in the summer? Don’t let the cool winter months increase your bills! Enjoy what the region has to offer no matter how cold it is!