A recent jump in energy and heating costs has left many with skyrocketing utility and heating bills, high enough to take a noticeable chunk out of our paychecks. While this is annoying and detrimental to our money-saving endeavors, there are ways to lower your overall heating costs even in the thick of winter.
Clean And Upgrade Heating Equipment
If your furnace isn’t quite able to handle the cold months of winter, this will reflect in your energy bills in an eye-watering way. An old or damaged furnace may only run at about fifty percent efficiency, compared to an updated version running between ninety and ninety-eight percent.
An upgrade to a new furnace could be the answer.
If you own an inefficient furnace, you’ll end up paying for heat you aren’t even receiving, leaving you cold, frustrated, and with funds dwindling senselessly. Unfortunately, a brand new furnace is not cheap. Still, you have to consider what you’ll save over the years in utility bills.
Make sure you know what to look for when buying a new furnace. The upfront price is worth it if you go from low efficiency to high efficiency when choosing the best heating system for your home.
Clean your furnace periodically.
A furnace in top-top shape can still lose efficiency if it is not maintained properly and regularly. Dirty air filters can create some money-scarfing issues through reduced efficiency. The good news is that they’re easy to fix. You can remove the air filter(s) and either give them a good clean or consider replacing them if they look too gnarly.
The bad news is that’s not all that needs to be cleaned sometimes.
A complete furnace cleaning involves cleaning additional parts such as the combustion chamber, fan, blower motor, and heat exchanger.
Suppose you opt for an HVAC professional to do your furnace cleaning. In that case, they will most likely clean the evaporator coil and some of the harder-to-clean parts.
In most cases, your HVAC company will use an industrial vacuum and/or high pressured air to clear the debris in the unit. The result of removing and minimizing the debris in your unit improves efficiency, increases airflow, and ultimately reduces the unhealthy particles and contaminants that are introduced into your air ducts.
Improving the efficiency of your heating systems means lowering your monthly bills. Please note that while your furnace and air ducts are connected, cleaning your air ducts are considered a separate service.
Lower Your Thermostat
Sacrificing a few degrees of warmth can save you up to ten percent in total heating costs each year. A lowering of seven to ten degrees will do the job. There is no need to bundle up and shiver all season long, but the lower you go, the more you’ll save.
Keeping your home cooler during the night is a great way to accomplish this; with a warm bed to tide you over, you’re likely to not even notice the change. Purchasing a programmable thermostat will allow you to lower the temperature at the times of your choice. This is especially useful if work or day trips take you away from home.
Check For Air Leaks
Hot air can easily slip through small cracks in your walls or windows, taking stacks of money with it. Avoid this by sealing leaks and cracks around your home, most commonly found around windows and doors.
Vents that are open to the outdoors, like laundry vents and heating vents, can also invite cold air in and send valuable warm air out. These can be sealed like any crack or gap, using special caulk materials, foamy insulations, or insulating covers.
Desperate times call for desperate measures. Consider covering your windows with insulating plastic films if outside temperatures tank. Instead of losing heat through thin window panes, plastic films trap heat and prevent cold air from radiating past the glass.
Repair Or Add Insulation In Your Attic
Attics work like woolly hats for our homes, trapping rising heat to keep what’s beneath it a few degrees warmer. If there are holes or leaks in the hat, you’ll lose the heat efficiency your home was designed to maintain.
Take a peek around your attic and repair damaged patches of insulation. Add insulation to any bald patches to get your home into the best shape for winter. Refresh old insulation to see the drop in the cost of your utility bills.
Lower The Temperature Of Your Water Heater
Keep your water heater a few degrees cooler to lower the amount of energy it needs to maintain your desired temperature. A slightly cooler water heater reduces its overall energy expenditure and saves you money.
As with your thermostat, you don’t need to go too low to notice savings. Roughly five degrees will make a difference. If you know, you’ll be leaving town for a few days, lower your water heater even further, and crank it back up when you return.
Winter Heating Tips Around The House
In addition to some rather major, time-consuming tips and tricks, there are small habits you can adopt on a day-to-day basis to lower your overall heating costs. An easy, cheerful way to accomplish this is by opening window blinds, shutters, or curtains during the day. Ushering in some winter sun can make a huge difference in warmth, and maybe best of all, heat from the sun is available at no extra cost.
Running laundry with cold water will also save you some cash. With the many detergents available, this will work for anyone.
If you’re running your oven, even just to cook a frozen pizza, you can utilize its warmth by keeping the oven door open after cooking. Why makes your furnace work harder than it needs to?
General awareness and a dedicated effort are all it takes to make a difference in chopping down your utility bills this winter. Best of luck, stay warm, and keep more money in your pocket!