If the current trends of increasing energy prices and rising inflation both continue, then it will cost approximately $1.4 million dollars to heat a single-family home for just 10 minutes by the year 2030.


Okay – that is a bit of an exaggeration, but you would still like to spend less money on energy bills this winter all the same. Fortunately, every thrifty homeowner has more than a couple of secret weapons if they want to weather the winter without immolating their checking account in the process. Here are a few simple home winterization tips you can act on right now!


Schedule Annual Furnace Maintenance

Fall is the perfect season to schedule professional furnace maintenance. HVAC technicians are less busy during the months that aren’t extraordinarily hot or cold, and detecting a furnace issue during the autumn means you still have plenty of time to complete any necessary repairs before winter arrives.


In addition to preventing a furnace failure at the worst possible time (e.g. 4:30am on December 25th), regular maintenance will help your furnace run more efficiently. That extends its lifespan (which is a welcome benefit for an expensive appliance) and reduces its overall operating costs.


Furnace maintenance includes thorough inspection of all the appliance’s most sensitive components, including its vents, flue, air intake grill, blower access door, burner, electrical connections, belts, and air filter. It also includes cleaning the blower and its motor, ensuring the burner ignites reliably, testing safety controls, replacing any parts that are at immediate risk of failure, and lubricating everything that moves. If it can reduce (A) energy bills, or (B) the risk of a breakdown, it’s a vital part of furnace maintenance!


Install Programmable Thermostats

A programmable thermostat lets a homeowner control their home’s temperature from anywhere on earth (that has Wi-Fi). A smart thermostat does the same, but also utilizes a series of sensors to actively lower and raise temperatures in different rooms depending on whether they are being used or not.


Estimations of a high-tech thermostat’s efficacy vary depending on whom you ask. The Environmental Protection Agency claims that a smart thermostat reduces cooling and heating costs by approximately 8%. Regardless, a smart thermostat will save you money, provide greater indoor comfort, and make your life more convenient.


Check for Drafts

A draft is any defect in your home’s building envelope: an opening that permits moisture or air from the outdoors to enter inside. If your home has a draft, then you are spending good money on heat that doesn’t actually contribute to keeping you and your family more comfortable.


The most popular solution to drafts is good old-fashioned exterior caulk. Visually inspect every square inch of your home’s interior for cracks, gaps and other openings and apply beads of caulk to seal them up. Pay special attention to areas surrounding windows and door frames, as these are most likely to have small fissures. Once you have satisfied yourself with the caulking phase of draft reduction, place or install draft stoppers at the bases of your windows and doors.


Insulate Pipes

Your water heater’s job only becomes more difficult when the temperature of the air surrounding it drops. Obviously, higher energy bills result. The solution to promoting greater water heater efficiency is low-tech yet elegant: insulate your pipes. The U.S. Department of Energy states that doing so can raise your water temperature by as much as 4 °F.


Better yet, insulating your pipes gives them added protection against freezing and bursting, which is an expensive and inconvenient problem to have. Frozen pipes also aren’t at all uncommon. In addition to water damage, they are accountable for almost 30% of home insurance claims.


Disconnect Hoses & Cover Faucets

Want even greater assurance that your pipes won’t freeze this winter? Remove all hoses from your home’s exterior faucets, turn off the outdoor water supply valve, turn on all the faucets until they have emptied as completely as possible.


Would you like a professional to take care of the furnace maintenance, programmable thermostat installation, draft elimination, pipe insulation, and other chores that will help keep you warmer and wealthier this winter? Then we welcome you to contact Gilk Plumbing, Heating & A/C today! We serve commercial and residential properties throughout Albany, Avon, Cold Spring, Eden Valley, Freeport, Kimball, Lake Henry, Paynesville, Richmond, Rockville, St. Joseph, St. Cloud, Waite Park, Sartell, and Watkins, Minnesota for all their HVAC and plumbing needs.