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6 Tips For Cutting Winter Heating Costs

cut heating costs

Heating your house during the cold winter months can be a pricey necessity. And with El Niño casting a colder-than-normal winter on the southern states this year, taking the necessary measures to keep your heating bill as low as possible is important. These six tips can help.

 

1.     Seal All Air Leaks

By properly sealing all air leaks, you can save 10% or more on heating bills; that’s typically anywhere from $50 to $170 a year in savings. Drafts can occur in the following areas:

  • Electrical boxes: electrical outlets in exterior walls are known for being drafty without proper insulation. Remove all cover plates and fill the gaps around the boxes with acrylic latex caulk. Replace the foam gasket and the cover plate before using the outlet.
  • Holes in exterior walls: pipes, gas line and electrical cables frequently have gaps due that lead to drafty air leaks. Seal these gaps with expanding foam.
  • Worn weatherstripping: did you know that 7 to 12 percent of heat loss comes from windows and doors? By replacing worn and torn weatherstripping and caulking around doors and windows, you can cut back significantly on lost heat.

 

2.     Reverse Your Ceiling Fan

Contrary to popular belief, ceiling fans can actually help keep your home warm in the winter. If you set your fan to spin clockwise on a low speed, you can push the warm air that’s trapped at the ceiling down, and spread it throughout your home. By following this simple tip, you could save as much at 15% on your heating bill.

 

3.     Lower Your Hot Water Temp

There is a good chance that your water heater is factory-set at 140 degrees Fahrenheit, but the Department of Energy suggests to dial back the temp on your water heater to 120 degrees.  Not only will that be sufficient for taking showers, doing laundry and washing dishes, but you can also save 6 to 10 percent on water heating costs as well.

 

4.     Buy A Portable Furnace

Consider buying a portable space heater and set it in frequently used rooms, like the living room or the kitchen. Even though the rest of your home might be cooler, the places you’ll be spending most time will be warm and you can turn down your thermostat.

 

5.     Get A New Thermostat

Outdated thermostats can actually be costing you money. Consider purchasing a programmable thermostat. By turning down the temperature 10-15 degrees for eight hours a day – like when you’re at work or while you’re sleeping – you can save significantly on your monthly heating bill. Better yet- programmable thermostats are incredibly affordable, with models starting around $25.

 

6.     Open Blinds

Keeping blinds and curtains shut during shaded or nighttime hours can significantly reduce heat from escaping through leaky windows. However, by opening these blinds when the sun is shining through your windows, you can use the natural light to heat your home. This added heat increases the temperature inside your home and prevents your heater from overworking.

 

For more information on how to properly care for and insure you home, visit Heuer Insurance Agency. Since 1929, Heuer has been serving homeowners in the Reno, NV area with reliable insurance coverage and friendly service. To learn more tips for keeping your home in good condition, visit the Heuer Insurance blog.

 

What Can YOU Do To Keep Your Home Safe?

DIY home security

Your home is a safe haven and central location for your family, so it is essential to protect it and the people who live there.

Unfortunately, Reno residents need to take extra precautions because Reno’s crime rate is higher than 86% of the other cities and towns in Nevada.  Property crimes are higher as well, and Reno residents have a 1 in 31 chance of being the victim of vehicle theft, arson, larceny, or burglary. (Source)

So what can you do to protect your home? Here are a few tips to get you started:

1. Don’t Make You Home An Easy Or Attractive Target

In most cases, home burglars are looking for easy, lucrative targets, so a few simple things can significantly lower your chances of having your home burglarized.

  • Always lock your doors and windows when you are away and at night. Secure your sliding glass door with a piece of wood, and don’t forget to lock the door that connects the house to the garage.
  • Install a deadbolt or chain lock on your doors to make it even harder for burglars to get in.
  • Don’t leave a spare key outside your house under a rock or in a pot. Give your key to a trusted family member or neighbor instead.
  • Avoid leaving expensive items in plain view from windows. You should also be careful when throwing away boxes for new expensive items such as laptops, televisions, and smartphones. If these boxes are easily visible, burglars will know that there is something new, valuable, and easy to sell in your home.

2. Increase Visibility Around Your Home

Make it easier to spot intruders by keeping the area around your home open and well lit. This will deter burglars in the first place, but it will also make it easy for you and your neighbors to notice suspicious activity. Keep motion detector lights working outside, and trim bushes and trees near your home.

3. Invest In A Security System

Something as simple as a security system sign will discourage many burglars. The security system itself will add extra protection and make it easier to monitor your home when you’re away. In some cases you may receive a discount on your homeowner’s insurance policy if you invest in a security system.

4. Take Extra Precautions When You’re Away From Home

Burglars are much more likely to invade your home when you’re away, especially if you’re gone for an extended period of time. Take the following steps to give your home extra protection when you’re out of town.

  • Don’t advertise your vacation dates on social media. This makes it easy for hundreds of ‘acquaintances’ to know that your home is less protected.
  • Have the post office hold your mail, so an overstuffed mailbox doesn’t announce that you’re gone.
  • Set your lights on a timer so that your house still looks lived in.
  • Tell a trusted neighbor that you’ll be gone and ask them to keep an eye out for suspicious behavior.
  • If you can, it may be best to hire a house sitter to stay in your home and feed your pets, water your plants, and make your home look occupied.

Although there are many precautions you can take, you can only do so much to protect your home—you can’t control the actions of others. This is why it is essential to invest in a homeowners insurance policy that will cover damages if you are the victim of a burglary. Visit Heuer Insurance to learn more about protecting your home and other investments.

 

 

8 Ways To Stay Cool and Save Money

Stay cool & Save Money

Did you know that the average residential electric bill costs more that $110 per month? What else could you do with that money? Nice dinners out, airplane tickets, weekend activities… the list goes on and on. Save yourself some money this summer by following these 8 easy tips and cut costs on your monthly air conditioning.

 

Cut Your AC Bills

 

  1. Set your thermostat to 78 degrees. Experts say that for every two degrees you raise your thermostat, you’ll decrease your cooling costs by nearly 10 percent.
  2. Use drapes or curtains in the heat of the day. Keeping the direct sun from streaming through your windows will help your home stay significantly cooler.
  3. Regularly change your HVAC filter. Air conditioning systems with dirty filters tend to use 5 to 10 percent more energy.
  4. Make minimum use of your oven and stove. These appliances heat up your kitchen to unbearable temperatures and require your air conditioning to work harder.
  5. Change your light bulbs to energy-efficient LED bulbs. Not only do LEDs save you money and last for years, but they also generate less heat than incandescent bulbs.
  6. Line-dry your laundry outside. The benefits of this tip are many: your clothes get freshly air-dried, you save money on electricity from your dryer and you don’t add extra heat to your already warm home.
  7. Use fans. Whether they are ceiling fans, stand fans or tower fans, you’ll be able to use a lot less energy and add cool circulation in your home.
  8. Fully shutdown all unused electronic devices. Since many electronics have transformers, they put out a substantial amount of heat. Turn off any TV, entertainment system, computer, etc. not in use.

 

For more money saving tips or to learn more about ways to responsibly insure and care for your home visit Heuer Insurance Agency, today.

Why Vacant Home Insurance Is Crucial

vacant home insurance

If you are planning to leave your home vacant for a long period of time, it is crucial that you invest in vacant home insurance. Here’s what you need to know.

When do you need vacant home insurance?

There are many different reasons someone may need to leave a home vacant. Common situations include:

  • The home is being renovated and the owners are living somewhere else during the construction.
  • The home is a second home used during certain times of the year.
  • The home is a rental property and there are no current renters.
  • The home is up for sale and the owners have moved away.
  • The home is vacant while owners are traveling for an extended period of time.

No matter the situation, if your home will be vacant for three months or more, it is important to invest in vacant home insurance.

What risks do vacant homes face?

Vacant homes need extra protection because they face extra risks. Vacant homes are more likely to be the target of thieves, trespassers, and vandals. Vacant homes are also more susceptible to insect infestations, broken or frozen pipes, and other problems that result when a home is unattended. A traditional home insurance policy will not be adequate—be sure to invest in the extra protection that comes with a vacant home insurance policy.

What coverage options are available?

Coverage options will vary from state to state and from company to company, but in most cases vacant home insurance is available for homes that will be empty for 3 to 36 months. In some cases, you may be able to add vacant home coverage to your current home insurance policy. In other cases you’ll need to find separate coverage. Talk to an insurance agent today about finding coverage for your vacant home.

To learn more about your insurance options, visit Heuer Insurance.

 

Homeowners Insurance 101: The Basics

homeowner

Adequately understanding the basics of homeowners insurance policies can be vital when rebuilding or replacing your home and personal belongings. The following information covers the basic essentials of homeowners insurance and everything you need to know when considering its benefits.

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Is Buying a New Home the Right Choice for Me?

buying a new home

Buying a home is a huge decision, and whether you are buying a brand new home, or buying a previously lived in home it will be a difficult choice to make. As you decide whether or not to purchase a home, there are several factors you should keep in mind.  Here is a quick guide to the pros and cons of buying a new home.

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Home Buyer’s Checklist

Home Buyer's checklist

When buying a house, there’s no such thing as being “too safe.” Too often homeowners will sign the contract, only to find a month later that there is something about the house or the neighborhood that isn’t ideal. Here is a list to check and double check that the house you’re buying is right for you.

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