Top 10 Ways to Save on Heating Bills
With winter only a few months away, now is a good time to start thinking about ways to keep energy costs at a minimum. The rising prices of natural gas and electricity can make it more and more difficult to be able to afford keeping your thermostat at a comfortable temperature. There is hope, however, and there are many different ways to keep your energy bill from getting out of hand when the mercury dips.
- Insulation: Check areas such as your attic, basement, crawlspace, and behind the walls of your home for insulation; the thicker the insulation, the higher the R-Factor. If you presently have insulation but are not sure how old it is, you can have it checked by a professional heating contractor. Insulation degrades with age, and over time, it should be replaced for greater energy savings. There are several different types of insulation that work well in different areas of your home. If you find the recommended areas in your home are not insulated, your heating systems will work overtime to keep you warm and your energy is literally going through the roof.
- Caulking: Caulking around outdoor fixtures, windows, recent renovations, and doors will cut down on your furnace repair service. If you find that your house feels drafty in certain areas such as doorways, around windows, baseboards, hallways, or bathrooms, spending a few dollars on a tube of caulk can save you more than your realize on heating bills.
- Changing and Installing the Right Air Filter: Depending on your environment and where you live, your HVAC air filter does make a difference. If you have allergies, pets, live on an unpaved dusty road, or in the Deep South where pollen is present for months on end, you will need to change out your filter more often. If you don’t change out your air filter on a routine basis, this can cause poor air flow and a greater burden on heating systems that will cost you more money each month. Something as simple as using the right air filter and changing it routinely will equal big savings over time.
- Plant Deciduous Trees: If you have a wide-open lot where your home is exposed to the blistering heat of summer, and freezing temperatures of winter, try planting a few trees around the perimeter. Not only are trees good for the environment, deciduous trees will sprout shade-giving leaves in the summer to keep your home cooler; in the winter when the trees drop their leaves, this will allow the sun to warm your home, keeping energy costs and home heating repair at a minimum.
- Use Insulated Drapes at Windows: After caulking your windows, follow up by hanging decorative insulated drapes at your windows to prevent drafts coming in and heat from escaping. You may also want to check into purchasing triple paned windows for higher energy efficiency.
- Install Weather Stripping Around Doors and Windows and Pet Doors: As with caulking and insulation, adding weather stripping around windows, doors, and especially pet doors, is relatively inexpensive, and will save you energy and money over time.
- Schedule Routine Furnace Service to Ensure all Components are Working Properly: Your heating service should include the technician checking all moving and non-moving parts of your furnace. This includes screws, nuts, bolts, fan, blower, igniter, gas valve assembly, air flow, cracks or damage, and more.
- Make Sure Your Duct Work is the Right Size for Each Room: Whether you have flexible duct work or sheet metal duct work, have your technician check for leaks, damage, proper sizing for each room, air flow, cleanliness, cracks or tears.
- Programmable Thermostats: A programmable thermostat should be installed in every home. When you constantly turn the heat up or down, this will cause your heating systems to work harder and use more energy. Programming your thermostat to keep your home at a steady temperature at all times, without sudden temperature changes will cut down on energy consumption.
- Your Furnace is Over 25 Years Old: It’s time to call your local furnace repair service and discuss installing a more energy efficient model.
You can also save on heating bills by locking in to a fixed rate on your natural gas bill instead of opting for a variable rate. Be sure to shop for the lowest market rate, and remember to re-negotiate on an annual basis or whenever your contractual agreement is up for renewal.