Paying too Much? Lower Your Heating Bill This Winter
Even in Arizona we need to run the furnace. When most people think of our state, they have a vision of hot, hot summers. They never take into account the winter temperature dive.
Just like every other place, we see a yearly winter increase on our monthly bills. There are a few ways to lower your heating bills, here are some of our favorites.
10 Easy Ways to Lower Your Heating Bill:
1. Seal Air Leaks
Most people don’t know this, but small cracks and damaged weatherstripping allow a lot of air to be lost. So much that it makes up for 25% to 40% of your winter heating bill.
Fortunately, there is a very easy fix for this. All you need is a windy day, a sheet of paper, and some downtime at home.
Hold the piece of paper up to your windows and watch for and movement. If the paper starts flapping, you know there’s something that needs to be sealed. Simply find the crack and caulk it up or replace the weatherstripping.
Next, do the same for your light fixtures and door. This is one easy way to lower your heating bill.
2. Open the Curtains
During the summer, the sun is your enemy, but during the winter, you can use it to your advantage. Leave the curtains open throughout the day to bring the sun’s heat inside.
When it comes time for sundown, just close everything up so that you can harness what’s left from the sunny day.
3. Dress for the Season
We all know that behind the sundresses and desert-dweller clothing there are some sweaters and joggers. Now is the time to unearth these clothes and get cozy.
One way to really stretch your heat is to dress for the season. Don’t wear sleep shorts, trade them in for sweatpants or leggings. And always have slippers on your feet.
This same principle applies to your home. Now is the time to break out the flannel sheets and a blanket for the couch. Also, don’t forget to put down some rugs if your home has hardwood.
4. Check and Change Your Air Filter
There is one task we wish all homeowners could do. That is to regularly check and change your air filter. We understand some furnaces are out of reach and that’s ok, just ask an HVAC tech to do it for you.
The air filter is a tiny piece that plays a big role. It stops dust and dander from settling in your furnace, and it traps dander, allergens, and other airborne contaminates from getting into your home.
No matter what type of filter you have, it will need to be cleaned or replaced. The length of time between replacements all depends on the type of filter you have. A thicker filter made of stronger material will last longer than those flimsy, green fiberglass filters.
Another issue with a dirty air filter is that your furnace needs to work harder to push air through it. A cleaner air filter takes that strain off the system and in turn lowers your heating bill.
The HVAC experts at Proskill recommend changing your air filter twice per year. Once in the spring before AC season, and once in the fall before it’s time to turn on the furnace.
5. Close the Doors
For those who are lucky enough to have extra rooms that aren’t used too often, what should you do with them during the winter? The easiest answer is close the door!
We’ve heard a lot of homeowners who think they can shut the supply and return vents in unused rooms to save money, but this is not a good thing to do. In fact, it can cost you money to do this.
All furnaces are programmed to know how much square footage they’re supposed to be heating. When vents are closed in different rooms, your furnace is still going to make that air. However, that air now has nowhere to go.
Now, you’re stuck with extra air and nowhere for it to go. This can cause a few issues. First being that the extra air can raise the pressure in your furnace. The extra pressure can trip a safety switch and then you’re stuck calling an HVAC tech to come get everything running again.
The second issue is with your ductwork. Excess air can also cause pressure to buildup in your ducts. The pressure can make a hole or tear in your ductwork. By leaving the door closed, instead of the vents, you’re allowing the room to stay warm, which tells the furnace to not produce anymore air for that area.
Instead of closing a vent, close the door and see the savings on your utility bills.
6. Check Your Insulation
At some point during the winter, we’ve all wanted to be able to wrap our home in a nice warm blanket. The good news is that you can do that. Just instead of a blanket, you’ll be using insulation.
Yes, that cotton candy pink stuff in the attic has a purpose. It helps naturally keep warm air in your home during the winter and cool air in your home during the summer.
It’s true that insulation can last a long time, but that length is determined by the insulation’s living conditions. Most attics are prone to moisture. This can be from a small roof leak, or even condensation from your HVAC system. Either way, any moisture is doing damage to your insulation.
During a furnace tune-up, a Proskill HVAC technician will check your insulation and let you know if anything needs to be repaired or replaced.
7. Use the Oven
One thing we can all agree on is that nothing beats winter comfort food. It’s even better when you make it yourself and heat your home in the process.
At Proskill, one of our favorite natural ways to heat the home is with the stove and oven. The simple act of cooking, baking, or roasting can make a big difference in the temperature of your home.
It’s easy to cook a meal and roast some potatoes with it. After you’re done with the oven, make sure everything is off, and put a wooden spoon in the oven door so it’s open just a crack. This will allow any trapped heat to escape and then waft around your home.
8. Turn Down the Thermostat
During the winter, turning down the thermostat seems very counterintuitive. But, it’s not! Believe it or not, the ideal winter thermostat setting is 68 degrees Fahrenheit.
This temperature is recommended because it can keep your home warm and cozy while not adding too much to your energy bill. Just be sure to dress for the season.
All furnaces only heat a certain amount of air at a time. This means that no matter how high you set your thermostat, it will take the same amount of time for your home to get warm.
Because of this, you can save money on your heating bill by turning down the thermostat.
9. Don’t Forget Your Fireplace
On a cold winter night there’s nothing better than sitting in front of the fireplace. However, remember to close the damper after the fire is out.
We see too much money lost to open chimneys. When homeowners leave the damper open, warm air quickly escapes, which can add a lot to a heating bill.
10. Schedule a Furnace Tune-Up
One of the best things you can do for not just your furnace, but your entire HVAC system, is to schedule regular tune-ups.
At Proskill, we advise homeowners to have two tune-ups per year. One in the fall before the start of furnace season and one in the spring before it’s time to turn on the AC.
While conducting a tune-up, a Proskill HVAC technician will inspect, test, and clean every part of your system. They’ll let you know if anything isn’t working or is on the way out and advise you of potential next steps.
It’s never too late for a tune-up! Call the number at the top of the screen or click here to schedule a furnace tune-up today!