If you are looking for ways to save money this fall and winter, you’ve come to the right place. We are sharing some of the best ways to reduce winter energy consumption and save you hundreds of dollars this year (and every year).
You can use those extra savings for a needed Christmas vacation or simply stash it away for a rainy day. Regardless, you’ll want to start making these free and low-cost changes now to start saving money on heating bills this winter.
6 Ways to Reduce Your Heating Bill
Schedule Professional Maintenance
The cost of a professional heating tune-up is extremely small compared with the high cost of HVAC repairs and replacements. At around $100, you can get your entire heating system inspected, cleaned, and optimized for the winter weather. Additionally, if you have any manufacturer warranties on the unit, you will want to make sure they remain valid for the entire duration of their coverage period by maintaining your unit every year.
Most, if not all, manufacturer warranties will only remain in effect if you remember to schedule professional maintenance for your HVAC unit. Manufacturers and HVAC professionals alike know the importance of regular heating and air conditioning maintenance—you should too!
The energy savings alone will quickly make up for the upfront costs of a maintenance visit. Don’t wait any longer. The sooner you schedule heating maintenance, the better. Learn more about professional furnace and heating maintenance tune-ups.
Change Your Air Filter
Again, this is another low-cost maintenance tip that will definitely save you energy this fall and winter. In addition to filtering out the air, clean air filters also make sure there is enough airflow for your heating and air conditioning system to work properly and efficiently. You never want to block airflow around your HVAC systems. Clogged air filters, dirt, debris, and other things will make it so your HVAC system has to work harder than it needs.
Remember to change your air filter every 30-90 days. You can check how clogged your air filter is by holding it up to the light. If you can barely see light pass through the filter, that means it is dirty and in need of a good cleaning or replacement. It’s a good idea to have several air filters on hand so you never have to go the local home improvement store.
We also recommend writing the date of replacement on the filter itself so you know exactly how long it has been since the last replacement. Set calendar reminders every 30 days to make sure you aren’t neglecting this important home maintenance task. Learn more about air filters and ways to extend the lifespan of your HVAC system.
Monitor Energy Expenses
Many of us set up automatic bill payments for our utility payments. While this can be a great idea to build up credit and avoid missing payments, it can also leave you blind when it comes to how much you are spending on your energy bill. Make sure you are keeping track of your energy costs and especially any upward trends or spikes in the bill. If you notice you are paying a lot more in heating bills this year than you were last year, it may be a good time to call in a professional to take a look. Usually, your utility bills come with some energy-saving tips as well.
Saving energy isn’t just good for you, it’s good for everyone. Another way you can monitor your home’s energy usage is with a NEST or smart thermostat. Some thermostats can help you track how much heating and energy you are using for that period of use. They can also recommend ways to reduce your energy consumption based on your home’s unique usage and needs.
Someone could write a whole book on this topic (and many have), so we’re just going to stick to the basics. The main places around the home that could use increased insulation are attics, basements, crawlspaces, windows, doors, and ductwork. You can also add insulation around outlets, recessed lighting, and other areas where utilities enter the home. Contact a heating contractor for help sealing and insulating your ductwork, attic, and other areas around the home.
Use this air sealing map for more suggestions on where to insulate around the home:
Keep in mind that if you make any major improvements to your home’s shell, you will want to consult with a professional heating contractor about your insulation and ventilation levels. In order to have a healthy and efficient home, you need to have the right balance of insulation and ventilation. Your home and health depends on some exchange of air.
If the air is tightly packed inside, you may experience huge energy savings, but those savings could easily just end up going towards more home or medical bills and expenses. Remember, HVAC stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. Ventilation is extremely important. Learn about ventilation concerns when remodeling.
Don’t Fall for Energy Falsehoods
You have probably heard of many ways to reduce your energy consumption this winter, but be careful to fact check these claims. For instance, it’s not a good idea to close your vents and register, and oversteering your thermostat to heat or cool the home faster does not work. Learn more energy-saving myths and facts.
Upgrade Your Thermostat
Upgrading to a programmable or smart thermostat can save you energy on your heating bills and lead to significant energy savings. The only catch is that you actually have to program it—otherwise, it’s just like any other thermostat.
Learn more energy-saving tips and tricks.
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