BOISE: Winter is Coming!
The Winter heating season is already underway; for many in the Northwest this year means even higher energy costs. Heating costs can make up 45% of your Winter energy bill. Hefty energy bills don’t have to dampen your holiday season however! Here are some great tips to help you save on staying warm during the cold months.
First, do an energy audit. You can do this yourself by taking a look at your energy bill and thinking of ways that you can cut back on non-heat related costs. This may be as simple as unplugging electronics that aren’t in use, or turning off lights in rooms that you’re not going to be using.
Set the thermostat at 68 when you are home; even lower if you are not going to be home. Don’t let it slip below 58 degrees if you live in a really cold area. By just setting the temperature a little lower for a few hours a day you can save over 10% on your bill in most cases.
Set the temperature on your water heater to 120 degrees to cut back on heat lost to the environment. Heating water can account up to 18% of your energy bill so it’s good to insulate your water heater and also any pipes that carry hot water as well.
Seal up air leaks. Use a candle to test windows for drafts. If you find a draft you can seal the edges of windows with caulking or spray foam depending on the size of the leak. Also consider under door sweeps for exterior doors.
Window glass can be a big reason your home loses heat. Clear windows on the South side of your home to let as much natural light and heat in as possible. If you don’t have double paned windows, you can also keep drapes closed or use a window insulation kit to help keep cold air from coming in from the outside.
Don’t hesitate to contact a local handyman or home service provider to ask them for advice on improving your home efficiency, in some cases they will have tips that can help, or you can even hire them to come and fix the issues for you.
Saving pennies can make sense in the long run! Don’t get all heated up over high energy bills this Winter!
Winter Driving Safety in Idaho
Winter has arrived here in our valley a bit earlier than expected! The first big storm of the season has already left a surprising amount of snow on the ground and local ski escapes like Bogus Basin are looking at opening earlier than they have in almost 50 years!
With holiday trips to see friends and family as well as outings to take care of the Christmas shopping being things most of us won’t be able to avoid – not to mention just getting around in the day to day and going to work – driver safety is a very important item to consider.
Here are a few tips to help you be prepared:
Easier said than done at times, but if the weather is bad you may really need to think twice as to whether going out is truly necessary. Sometimes just staying at home is the best, safest, way to avoid trouble.
Keep It Serviced
If your car needs repairs get them done now rather than later. Breaking down in the warm months is no big deal; you can walk to get help or just wait for help to come. In Winter this may not be possible and may even be a danger in and of itself. It’s a good idea to have your vehicle winterized and to make sure the battery and electrical systems are all working properly.
Some good general maintenance tips include:
Making sure your windshield wipers are in good condition and working.
Making sure your windshield wiper fluid is full ( of fluid, NOT water ).
Making sure your gas tank is at minimum half full at all times.
Keep a bag of sand or cat litter in your trunk – this is good not only for if you get stuck but also to add a little extra weight to your vehicle.
Always keep a blanket or two as well as some clean drinking water and snacks in the vehicle in case you do get stranded somewhere for an extended time.
If you absolutely can not avoid going out the best thing to do is go slow. Four wheel drive is great for keeping you on the road while you are moving but does absolutely nothing to help if you are stopping on the ice. Slow down, plan ahead for even short trips to take a lot longer, and leave early if need be.
Living in the Northwest can be challenging over the long Winter, but it’s one of the things we endure to enjoy the rugged beauty of our state. If you take precautions and stay prepared there is no reason why the snowy months can’t be safe and enjoyable.
Get Your Home in Boise Ready for Old Man Winter
Now is the time of year to start thinking about preparing your home for winter, because as temperatures begin to dip, your home will require maintenance to keep it in tip-top shape through the winter.
Here are some good things to think about in getting ready for the long cold winter ahead!
1) Furnace Inspection
- Call an HVAC professional to inspect your furnace and clean ducts.
- Stock up on furnace filters and change them monthly.
- Consider switching out your thermostat for a programmable thermostat.
- If your home is heated by a hot-water radiator, bleed the valves by opening them slightly and when water appears, close them.
- Remove all flammable material from the area surrounding your furnace.
2) Get the Fireplace Ready
- Cap or screen the top of the chimney to keep out rodents and birds.
- If the chimney hasn’t been cleaned for a while, call a chimney sweep to remove soot and creosote.
- Buy firewood or chop wood. Store it in a dry place away from the exterior of your home.
- Inspect the fireplace damper for proper opening and closing.
- Check the mortar between bricks and tuckpoint, if necessary.
3) Prevent Plumbing Freezes
- Locate your water main in the event you need to shut it off in an emergency.
- Drain all garden hoses.
- Insulate exposed plumbing pipes.
- Drain air conditioner pipes and, if your AC has a water shut-off valve, turn it off.
- If you go on vacation, leave the heat on, set to at least 55 degrees.
- Have any problem areas looked at by a quality Boise Plumber.
These things may seem like common knowledge, but you know what they say about an ounce of prevention…
Still have questions or concerns? Take a look at our directory of Boise home service experts to find the right home professional to fit your specific need! All of our members are trusted and experienced service providers for all household needs big or small!
Boise Air Conditioning Services
Just because summer time is drawing to a close doesn’t mean that you don’t need to take care of that trusty A/C unit! Get ready for winter by having your air conditioner serviced or repaired. The Treasure Valley air conditioning experts at Airpro can make sure that your air conditioning is running properly and ready for the long cold winter ahead.
Speaking of winter – now is the best time to make sure your home heating is ready for the chilly months ahead! Airpro also offers the best Boise area home heating service and installation. We can make sure that you’re nice and cozy warm throughout the Idaho winter season. Our prices are great and our trained and experienced technicians have the skills to get the job done right.
Contact AIRPRO in Boise today for all of your home cooling and heating needs in Idaho! We specialize in installation, repair, and servicing cooling and heating equipment as well as home air quality issues!
Call Airpro: 208-853-6556
Serving The Treasure Valley for Over a Decade!