Winter is here and with it comes the dreaded increase in your utility bills. Running the many systems that keep you and your family comfortable during the long winter months can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be! Don’t worry, we’re not here to tell you to bump your heat down to 50 degrees in the middle of January to cut some extra money off your bill. Keeping your home warm and comfortable is important and heating costs should not break the bank. Luckily, there are many other things you can try that can have a major impact on your heating costs!
Replace Your Filters
If you find that it is taking longer for your system to heat your home than it usually would, you might want to check your air filters. Whether you have a furnace, boiler, or heat pump system, it likely involves filters to ensure that the air you are receiving is as clean as possible. While every system is a little bit different, most professionals recommend having your filter cleaned or replaced at least once every 3 months.
Some filters are made so that homeowners can easily replace them without needing to call a professional HVAC technician out, but some filters are not so easily accessible and should be changed only by a licensed professional. Make sure that you are as educated on the type of system and air filters in your home so that you can make the most informed decision. If you aren’t sure about the answers to these questions, you should call an HVAC professional out to have a look at your heating and cooling systems and break down what type of regular maintenance you should be receiving.
Bump Down Your Water Heater Temperature
Before you panic, this does not mean that you have to take cold showers to save money on your heating bill. Most hot water tanks are set to max out at around 140 degrees, which is too high to be in direct contact with a person’s skin for any prolonged amount of time. If you do not regularly turn the sink’s hot water knob all the way up and leave the cold water off entirely, it is safe to say that your hot water heater temperature can afford to be turned by 10-15 degrees.
When your hot water heater is set to heat its entire tank to a temperature so much warmer than most people actually need, it is wasting energy and money getting the water to that temperature. Decreasing the temperature of your hot water heater can save you hundreds of dollars every year!
Check The Seals On Your Doors And Windows
Whether you are aware of them or not, most homes do have small spaces where cold air can get in. These air leaks allow cold air from outside of your home to get in and lower temperatures. Even the smallest air leak could cost you a ton of money on your heating bill.
The best places to look for air leaks are around any wiring and piping that goes outside, dryer vents, and old window frames. Identifying these problem areas can be the more time-consuming part of this task, but once you know where the air is getting in you can fix the problem fairly easily.
With the leaks found, you can go ahead and seal them up. You can use caulk or insulation from any hardware store to keep the cold out as long as the leak is less than two inches wide. Larger leaks should be temporarily closed off with a towel or blanket and sealed off by a professional contractor as soon as possible.
Use Thermal Curtains Or Coverings On Older Windows
Unfortunately, if your windows are more than 7-10 years old, you are likely losing a large percentage of the heat moving through your home through your windows. In fact, according to the Department of Energy, homeowners may be losing about 30 percent of a home’s heating energy through aged windows.
The long-term goal for all homeowners should be to replace all older, drafty windows with new, energy-efficient windows. Unfortunately, replacing windows can be an expensive project. If you are not quite ready to commit to whole-house window replacement, you might want to consider insulating your windows with thermal curtains or coverings. Window coverings are secondary products that can be attached to windows either internally or externally. These coverings are mainly used to improve energy performance, trap more conditioned air in your home, reduce glare, and provide more privacy for homeowners everywhere. You can find many different kinds of coverings – most are not easily identifiable but can add multiple layers to your windows that will help you lower your heating bill while also maintaining the same look as your older windows. Window coverings, while still less expensive than window replacement, can be a bit expensive, especially if bought for every window in your home.
Another less expensive option is to hang thermal curtains. Thermal curtains are easy to find and purchase and they are a relatively inexpensive option. These window coverings typically have several layers of fabric, including a center panel of insulating foam that can help block cold air from seeping out through your windows. Like any other curtain set, you can find these curtains in different colors and prints to best fit the design of your home. You can also pull back these window coverings for a few hours on sunny days to let the natural light help heat your home.
Close Doors Behind You
As a general rule, keeping doors, especially doors to rooms that are not used as frequently as others, closed behind you is a great way to conserve energy and cut down on your utility bills. When doors are left open, the air that is meant to be heating that room ends up flowing into different parts of your home. This makes it more difficult to reach the desired temperature of each individual room and leaves your heating system running for longer periods of time. Remember, the longer your heater is actively running, the more you are paying.
Install A Smart Thermostat
If you do not already have a smart thermostat in your home, you should consider installing one. These thermostats are an inexpensive way to closely monitor your home’s heating and air conditioning systems, even when you are not home. Smart thermostats allow you to make more changes to the way your air conditioning system works, from how often it kicks on to keep different areas of your home at different temperatures, smart thermostats give you more options that can save you a ton of money!
Installing a quality smart thermostat in your home can take your energy savings to a whole new level. In fact, smart thermostats can reduce energy bills by up to 25%. That can translate to hundreds of dollars in savings every year, back in your pocket.
Some of our favorite smart thermostats include:
- Nest Thermostat E
- Honeywell Lyric T5+ Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat
- Ecobee4 Smart Thermostat with Built-In Amazon Alexa
- Sensi Touch Smart Thermostat ST75
Keep in mind that replacing your thermostat is a job that should always be done by a service professional. Improper installation can lead to major problems with your entire HVAC system down the road. Have Your Heating System Cleaned & Serviced Regularly
Whether you have a furnace, a boiler, or a heat pump, regular maintenance is important to keep them running as they should. Keep in mind that, although these systems have different maintenance needs, all heating systems require maintenance and upkeep. These are complex machines, after all, and they will lose efficiency and break down over time without proper maintenance. Keeping up with your unit’s maintenance and cleaning needs will help ensure that your system is operating at its peak efficiency, saving you money on your energy bills.
While the amount you’ll save on your heating bill depends on a number of factors, including the efficiency and age of your heating system and the size of your home. Still, the average American household spends $2,200 a year on energy bills and about half of that cost is from heating and cooling alone. Heating system tune-ups have the potential to save you up to 30% off of your energy bill every single month. That adds up to several hundred dollars every year that you don’t need to give to utility companies.
All maintenance, tune-ups, and cleaning should be done by a licensed professional. If you would like to learn more about how regular maintenance can improve your unit’s efficiency or if you are ready to book an appointment today, give Guaranteed Service a call at (732) 242-7480 or visit us online.
At Guaranteed Service, we get the job done right the first time, guaranteed. Our licensed and experienced staff is always ready to bring you the knowledge, guidance, and on-target solutions that you need to get the job done.
To implement some of these changes and get your home on the road to maximum efficiency, call Guaranteed Service at (732) 242-7480or contact us online today!