This is a great question! We have become accustomed to controlling our indoor environment to make our homes comfortable all year round. Heating and cooling technology has made significant advancements in recent years, especially when it comes to energy efficiency. And yet, some people are still suffering from high energy bills that seem to be out of their control. Let’s take a closer look at this issue and some ways that you can tame your heating and cooling bills in the future.
The Perceived Disparity Between Heating and Cooling Bills
There is a perception amongst many homeowners that it is cheaper to heat a home rather than cool it and vice versa. But, if you compare energy expenditure ratings over a number of different home types, you will soon realize that there isn’t that much difference. In fact, when it comes to analyzing the true energy costs in changing the indoor temperature to a comfortable level, there are a number of other factors to consider.
Location is Not as Important as You Might Imagine
Let’s be honest; if you live in a temperate area where you experience short winters, your heating bills will be fairly modest. It’s likely that your cooling bills would be larger, which would probably influence you to think that it’s cheaper to heat a home instead. The inverse would also be true, people experiencing longer and harsher winters will bemoan the expenses of heating their home. So, location is an important factor, but when you really think about it, both homeowners in our examples still pay pretty much the same in energy bills. The only real difference is that one pays more to heat their home, and the other pays more for cooling, but they still expend similar amounts of energy. So, if you have a home in a warmer or colder area, don’t think that you cannot make energy savings because of your location.
Home Insulation Levels are Key
The level of insulation in your home is key if you want to lower your energy costs for heating and cooling in your home. When you have great insulation, your home will not leak away the heat that you’ve paid for in winter. When the weather turns hotter, the insulation will prevent the warmer air outside from entering your home and driving up the indoor temperature. Most people purely focus on the crawl spaces, walls, and other areas where you install insulation and forget about their windows and doors. When your windows and doors are properly sealed, they can improve the insulation levels a great deal, and spending money on them is a fantastic investment. One of the best things about focusing on insulation is that it is a passive energy saving technology. Insulation can last for years, and yet it will save money during every heating and cooling season.
Make Smarter HVAC Choices
When you’re making heating and cooling choices for your home, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. Becoming informed can be a challenge, and there are a lot of terms to learn, but it is worth the effort. It’s also a great idea to form a long term relationship with a trusted local HVAC specialist that you can rely on. This will be invaluable when carrying out servicing, maintenance, and any repairs that you need. After all, HVAC systems are expensive, and it makes good sense to protect your investment.
In some cases, people can make choices that are questionable, if they are really serious about making energy savings. A prime example would be a fireplace. Now we all like an open fire; it’s warm, relaxing, and romantic. But, a fireplace isn’t a sound investment if you want to reduce your energy bills, and it’s an inefficient way to heat your home. Every fireplace needs a chimney that channels the majority of the heat out and away from the home. When you install a fireplace, you will only receive a small portion of the heat and energy that you paid for, and this makes it a waste of money. But, all is not lost; you could still replace and old wood burner with a gas fireplace that doesn’t need a chimney. This will give you that romantic feel that you’re looking for, and it will provide efficient heating to complement your HVAC system at the same time.
Don’t Run the HVAC System Too Hard
Most people want to keep their homes as warm as they can in winter, and this is understandable when you come in from the cold. Keeping your home at a constant 75º may feel cozy, but it won’t do your bank balance any favors. Many of us would be perfectly comfortable at 68º is we simply wore an extra layer of clothing. In the grand scheme of things, a 7º difference in temperature may not seem like a big deal. But, if you extrapolate that temperature variance over an entire heating season, it quickly adds up. It’s also worth noting that working your HVAC system too hard can place the components under strain leading to an unexpected repair bill.
Schedule Regular Maintenance
We recommend regular maintenance prior to each cooling and heating season for our customers. Well maintained heating and cooling equipment is less likely to break down when you need it most. A heating failure in the middle of winter is an unpleasant experience that everyone needs to avoid. Another factor to consider in terms of energy usage is that regularly maintained equipment has greater energy efficiency. When you consider the extra energy consumed, unexpected repair bills, and potential system failures, regular maintenance starts to look like a real bargain!
If you’re concerned about the amount of energy that you’re using for heating and cooling, contact your local HVAC specialist. They can arrange an energy audit to highlight areas where you might improve insulation in your home. They can also maintain and service your HVAC system to ensure that it’s working efficiently.