Winter weather means higher heating bills for many Americans. Whether you use natural gas, oil, electricity, or another fuel to heat your house, the cooler temperatures push your heating system to work harder. If your heating costs are causing you pain in the piggy bank, you can do something about it.
Heating costs are a significant percentage of most households’ total energy use, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Even though your home, like many others, may devote almost half of the energy used to HVAC-related uses, you can save energy and money on your home heating costs. What can you do to lower your energy usage, boost your system’s efficiency, and save money?
Take a look at these energy and money-saving home heating tips.
Consider a New Heater
How old is your heater? If it’s more than 10 to 15 years old, you may need an upgrade. Older systems aren’t as energy efficient as new models. And that means that you’ll spend more money over time just to heat your home. An old heater that has worn parts, needs repairs often, or heats your home unevenly is a candidate for replacement.
Not only will worn parts reduce efficiency and cost you money in the long run, but your older heater may not burn its fuel as effectively as a more modern model. Comparing AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency) percentages can help you to pick the most efficient furnace or boiler. The higher the AFUE number, the more efficient your heater is. An older, low-efficiency heater typically has an AFUE between 56 percent and 70 percent. But a new, high-efficiency system’s AFUE can run between 90 percent and 98.5 percent. That’s a significant improvement when it comes to energy efficiency.
Schedule Regular Maintenance
Your heater needs a preseason checkup and cleaning. Regular maintenance can contribute to your furnace or boiler’s energy efficiency by making you aware of any worn or broken parts. When a heater starts breaking down, it may still work. But it won’t work as efficiently as it should. The annual checkup gives the HVAC technician the opportunity to spot potential problems and swap out worn parts for new ones.
Along with fixing your system and preventing possible problems, an annual service check helps to remove the debris and buildup from your heater. Clogged filters, a dirt-covered heating unit, and debris-filled ducts can slow your heater down and make it work harder. This decreased efficiency requires more energy usage, increasing your bills.
Stop Air Leaks
Air leaks and uninsulated areas are sneaky culprits behind your home’s heating loss. Check around window and entry door areas, feeling for leaks. If you can feel the cold air coming in during the winter, you have a leak. Seal leaky window frames and entry doors, along with insulating spaces such as attics and basements, to save up to 15 percent on your home energy costs.
Likewise, older, single-pane windows are drafty and won’t do much to hold the warm air in. Replace them with multipane, insulated windows that use gas sandwiched in between the glass to help raise your home’s energy efficiency and lower wintertime heating costs.
If you don’t have the home improvement budget to replace all of your windows, plastic window film or storm windows can help to insulate the area. Along with this, make sure to caulk and add weather-stripping around window and entry door frames.
Change the Thermostat
What’s your thermostat set at? Do you keep this setting the same all day and night long? Lowering the setting by as little as 7 to 10 degrees for eight hours of the day can save you 10 percent annually on your heating costs. Before you turn the thermostat way down, making yourself and anyone else in your home uncomfortable, consider your options.
Instead of dropping the temperature while you’re home, wait until you leave for work. If you don’t work outside the home, a nighttime thermostat change can save you money without making your home unbearably chilly.
Do you need a new energy-efficient heater or a preseason checkup? Custom Comfort Plumbing, Heating & Cooling LLC can help you to stay safe and warm.