When the weather turns bad, your HVAC system will be needed to maintain your indoor comfort and keep your family warm. But, that level of comfort comes at a price, and you can easily get a shock when your energy bill arrives. It is possible to keep your home warm and lower your heating costs at the same time if you know how. Some of these strategies are very easy to implement, and you may be surprised at how much money you can save. Let’s take a look at seven ways that you can keep your home warm and lower your energy bills.
- Set Your Thermostat to a Lower Temperature
This may seem like a very obvious way to cut your energy bills, but it is the simplest method that everyone can use immediately. According to the Department of Energy, a homeowner can lower the heating costs by around 10% annually by lowering the thermostat by 10º or 15º for eight hours each day. There is no need to compromise too much on comfort; the eight hour period could be when you sleep or if you’re away from home.
- Invest in Smart Thermostat Technology
We discussed lowering the thermostat periodically above, and there are a number of ways that you could achieve that. Older thermostats may require a manual adjust, but many people now use a programmable thermostat instead. This will allow the homeowner to set up timings when the thermostat comes on and goes off again. This system works well, but it’s very basic, and it doesn’t adapt to changes very well. As an example: if you need to work for an extra hour, your HVAC system will still turn on whether you’re at home or not. Recently we have seen advances in the field of smart technology for many aspects of the home including heating and cooling. When you have a smart thermostat installed, you can control every part of your HVAC system from your computer or mobile device using an app. This is a great way to turn your system on and off, you can make changes remotely, and it will even provide handy information on the efficiency of your system.
- Keep Your HVAC System Clean and Clear
Heating and cooling your home is more effective if the flow of air is unobstructed. This means that the return and vents have to be clean and clear if you want to get the best distribution of treated air throughout your home. So, check the vents before the heating or cooling season begins and make sure that they haven’t been covered with furniture or other obstructions. Then give the vents a good clean to remove any dust or debris that has accumulated there.
- Get a Regular Furnace Tune-up
Heating experts advise homeowners to get their furnace tuned up before the beginning of the heating season. If you’ve skipped maintenance for the last few years, it’s even more important to schedule some maintenance without delay. When your furnace is tuned up, a number of checks and adjustments are made to ensure that the furnace is efficient and safe to use. This is also when the HVAC technician can catch any minor repair issues before they can develop into more substantial repairs that will be more expensive to fix. When your furnace is well maintained, it’s less likely to break down when the weather is cold, and you need it most.
- A Fan is Not Just for Summer
If you have ceiling fans or even some floor mounted units, it’s likely that you only switch them on during the summer months. A fan is a great way to move air around in a room, and it can effectively move cool and warm air. In many rooms, the heating will produce heat that can pool or gather in certain areas and you may not feel the warmth. Heat rises, you may still feel colder in your heated room, and the heat could be in the upper part of the room on the ceiling. Locate the directional switch on your fan and flip it to clockwise and then run the fan on the lowest speed in any rooms that you’re using. This will help to make the room feel warmer, and a fan is cheaper to run than turning up the heat on your thermostat. Always turn the fans off when you leave the room for even lower energy bills.
- Making the Most of Free Heating
Even on the coldest winter days, if the sun is shining it can still provide plenty of heat for your home. So, if you have a sunny winter day make sure that you open up any blinds or curtains on windows that are facing the sunshine. Allow as much of that free heat from those warming rays of the sun into as many rooms as you can. Many people are unaware that their soft furnishings, carpets, rugs, and even wallpaper can absorb warmth from the sun. Later in the day, this will be released back into the home to nudge the heat up a little for free. Always close your curtains and blinds again after the sun goes down to add an extra layer of insulation and keep that free heat in for a little longer.
- Dress for the Heating Season
Another easy way to stay warm during the colder months is to dress appropriately for the heating season. Many people, have their heating cranked up high and then they wear lighter summer clothes around the home. This is a tremendous waste of energy, and it’s easy to dress for relaxing in a cooling home. Wearing a sweater or wrapping up in a fleece blanket on the couch is a great way to feel cozy in your home. The key is to dress in layers, wear a lighter layer and then add another layer if you feel cold. It may be tempting to turn the thermostat up a couple of degrees, but this will drive up your energy bill.