You and your family can stay nice and cozy warm throughout the winter months without going bankrupt paying high energy costs. Did you know that there are three specific steps you can take to use less energy to heat your home, all while remaining warm and comfortable? Take a look at these three suggestions that you or your HVAC contractor can implement in order to save on energy costs this winter without feeling uncomfortable.
Lower the Thermostat
Recognize that pushing the thermostat up 10 degrees suddenly will greatly increase energy costs and waste energy. The system will work too hard and end up making your home hotter than asked. Experiment by setting the thermostat to the lowest temperature at which everyone in the house still enjoys a comfort level, then keep the thermostat at that setpoint. For every degree that you lower the thermostat, you can realize energy savings as much as 4%.
Every night before retiring to bed, crank the thermostat down a few more degrees. Under the covers, you won't even notice the difference. Then, first thing in the morning, return it to the regular setpoint you discovered earlier. If everyone is out of the house until the end of the day, don't push up the thermostat until the evening hours.
Maintain A Clean Filter
There is a direct correlation to the amount of dirt on your heating system's air filter and the amount of energy the system has to use in order to maintain the proper amount of airflow. A dirty air filter is very economical to replace, but left in place, will waste money through higher energy costs. It's a good idea to mark a date on your calendar every month as a reminder to replace old filters.
Other smart maintenance chores that result in lower energy costs during winter include cleaning the outside condensing coil of your heat pump. Any debris that obstruct the pump's normal airflow, including grass and leaves, will cause energy waste. And if your heating system burns fossil fuels, consider installing a carbon monoxide monitor as a safety measure to prevent accidental poisoning.
Invest in New Technology When Appropriate
If your current heating system is 10 to 15 years old, now is the time to consider upgrading to a more energy efficient unit. You can spend money continuing to repair an outdated heating system, or ask your HVAC contractor for suggestions on what type of new heating system will save your household money in the long run by requiring lower energy usage. Don't scrimp on pennies by pushing off installing a new heating system until next year, because not only will you waste energy and money, you may find yourself with a malfunctioning unit on the coldest night of the year, which is certainly no fun!
Rely on Professional Preventative Maintenance
It's a good idea to have an HVAC contractor you trust to inspect your heating system at least once a year so that little problems or issues don't turn into large and expensive ones. Many contractors can offer you a preventative maintenance contract in which they automatically visit at least once annually to inspect and clean your heating system.
Some of the things they can check on during an annual inspection include:
- Checking that air ducts are properly connected, sealed and insulated to prevent heat loss.
- Servicing humidifiers for optimal functioning.
- Checking heat exchangers for any cracks.
- Checking that all operating controls and safety features are functioning properly.
- Ensuring that all chimney and vent exhausts are moving to the outside rather than circulating inside the house.
- Measuring the amount of combustion air flowing into boilers and furnaces.
Purchasing a preventative maintenance agreement not only takes the work and worry off of your shoulders, but often includes such benefits as discounts on any repairs and parts needed if system defects are discovered. A combined effort on your part, along with your HVAC contractor, can ensure you stay warm and comfortable all winter long, with the added bonus of lower energy costs.