With energy costs continuing to rise, keeping your home sufficiently heated during the winter is starting to be more and more expensive. This leaves many people searching for ways to keep their heating costs lower without having to sacrifice their comfort. Having your furnace serviced and maintained every fall is an easy option that will help to keep your heating system working effectively and your heating costs lower, and this guide will show you why maintenance is important and also some other effective options that will help you to tackle high heating costs this winter.
Furnace Tune-Up and Maintenance
An annual furnace tune-up is one of the most effective ways to keep your heating costs in check. When servicing a furnace, the technician will first inspect it for any issues to ensure it doesn’t need any repairs. Even minor issues can greatly reduce a furnace’s effectiveness, leading to steadily increasing heating costs so it is important to have any issues repaired promptly.
Having the furnace burners and the blower cleaned is also important and can improve the effectiveness of your heating system by as much as 15%. If you don’t have your furnace inspected, cleaned and serviced, it simply won’t work as effectively and won’t be as energy efficient. The wear and tear will also be increased to where the furnace will typically require more repairs and have a shortened lifespan.
In addition to annual professional maintenance, it is also important that you replace the air filter at least once every two to three months. If you don’t replace the air filter, it will clog up and limit how much hot air the furnace can produce. A dirty filter can also lead to overheating and other issues that can lead to serious damage and put your furnace at risk of breaking down.
Ductwork Inspection, Insulating and Resealing
Leaky and/or poorly insulated ductwork is a problem that plagues many homes and directly contributes to higher heating bills. In fact, it is estimated that as much as 20-30% of the energy that the HVAC system in the average home uses is wasted due to duct leaks and a lack of sufficient insulation around the air ducts. This is why it’s important to have your ductwork professionally inspected to make sure everything is in good shape and there are no places where air can leak out.
You’ll also want to make sure that any ducts in the attic or crawl space are completely wrapped with insulation. If these ducts aren’t insulated, the air will lose lots of heat as it moves through the ducts. This heat loss results in the heating system being much less effective and forces the furnace to work overtime.
In general, ductwork should always be fully resealed at least once every five to ten years. Ductwork should also typically be replaced every 20 to 25 years as ducts tend to have more leaks and other issues as they age.
Programming Your Thermostat for Day and Night
Studies show that turning your thermostat down by just one degree for eight hours will lower your heating bills by around 1%. If you program your thermostat so the temperature decreases by 8 to 10 degrees when you go to bed and again when you leave for work, you could potentially save as much as 20% on your monthly heating bills. Doing this can also help to extend the life of your furnace since it won’t run as often and will experience less wear and tear.
Insulating Attic Floor
Many homes have a poorly insulated attic, and this issue can be one of the biggest contributors to high heating costs. Heat naturally rises and will always collect up near the ceiling. If the floor of the attic isn’t sufficiently insulated, lots of that heat will seep through and escape. Insulating the attic floor is important for helping to trap the heat inside the home so that the furnace doesn’t need to run as often and work as hard. According to the EPA, homeowners can lower their heating (and cooling) costs by around 15% on average by insulating the attic floor and the floor above the basement or crawl space and also sealing up any air leaks in the home’s structure.
Sealing Around Windows
Windows are another major source of heat loss and can also allow lots of cold air to leak in from outside if the frames aren’t fully sealed inside and out. This is something you can easily check for by feeling around all of your windows to see if cold air is coming inside. You should also visually inspect the caulking around the frames for any cracks or gaps. If the caulking looks old and cracked or there are gaps in it, you’ll want to scrape all of the old caulk away and reseal around the entire frame to ensure air can’t leak in.
Single-pane windows are also a major issue as they are poorly insulated and always allow lots of cold inside. Replacing any single-pane windows in your home is always the best option for keeping cold air out and the heat trapped inside your home. If you can’t afford new windows, sealing them with plastic will also help to keep out the cold so your home stays warmer and your heating doesn’t have to run quite as often.
Keeping Window Coverings Open During the Day
If your home has double-pane windows that are well sealed, you can take advantage of the heat from the sunlight to warm up your home during the day. Opening up your curtains and blinds during the daytime will lead to lots of heat gain from the sun and lessen the strain on your furnace. Covering your windows with heavy curtains or drapes in the evening after the sun goes down will also help by trapping heat in and keeping the cold out.
Turning On Ceiling Fans
Running any ceiling fans in your home can also help to keep your heating costs a bit lower in winter. If the fans spin clockwise, they’ll produce an updraft that pushes the hot air down from the ceilings and circulates it around the room to help it stay warmer. This allows you to set your thermostat to a slightly lower temperature since the heat from your furnace will continually circulate instead of just rising and getting trapped near the ceiling.
Checking the Location of Your Thermostat
Thermostat location is much more important than you may realize. If the thermostat is located near an exterior door or window or on an exterior wall, it will often register a colder temperature than what the home actually is. This means it will end up signaling the heating system to run more often than it really needs to, and the system will also usually run for a longer time before the thermostat signals it to shut off. In this case, moving the thermostat to a more central location away from exterior walls, doors and windows will help it to be more accurate so that your furnace doesn’t run as much and your heating bills stay lower.
With more than four decades of experience, Cool Power LLC is the top choice if you need any heating or cooling service in the Ronkonkoma area. We offer professional furnace and AC maintenance for residential and commercial customers, and our team can also take care of your heating and cooling repair and installation needs. For more information on how a furnace tune-up can help you save this winter, give us a call today.