With many of us spending more time at home these days, it comes as no surprise that our monthly energy bills have probably increased. After all, people are using their laptops, phone chargers, TVs, etc. more than in times past. As a homeowner, you may be worried that these monthly costs will climb even higher this winter when you’re running your heating system.
While it is true that many homeowners see an increase in costs on their energy bills during the heating season, there are a few things you can do to help keep these bills manageable.
Tips for lowering energy costs this winter
Tip #1: Schedule an annual tune-up appointment.
Schedule a maintenance appointment for your heating system. Not only will a yearly tune-up help you find potential problems early and get them taken care of, but it can also help ensure your system runs as efficiently as possible throughout the heating season.
The technician sent to your home to perform the tune-up will inspect and clean your system’s components so they aren’t coated in dust and grime. This can help make it easier for your system to operate even on the coldest and most demanding days.
While this can help keep your energy bills more manageable, it can also reduce the strain on your heating system and keep it running at its best now and in the future. This can be welcome news for the budget-conscious homeowner who may worry that they need to replace their system sooner rather than later. Regular maintenance helps keep the components of the unit running smoothly without premature wear and tear.
Safety check! Additionally, during a maintenance appointment, the technician in your home will be able to check for potential signs of a natural gas or carbon monoxide (CO) leak, which could prove to be deadly if left undetected and untreated.
Tip #2: Install a smart or programmable thermostat.
If you don’t already have a programmable or smart thermostat in your home, now is the best time to get one installed by a professional. With these devices, you can set specific times during the day when you want the temperature to be warmer/cooler.
For example, if your family is not home between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. each day, you can program the thermostat to lower the temperature during these times. If nobody will be there to enjoy the warmth, there’s no need to keep your unoccupied home at a higher temperature. You can also set the thermostat to start raising the temperature in your home 30 minutes to an hour before you will be back, making sure your home will be warm and cozy upon your return. A small adjustment in temperature can help to save on your monthly energy bills, since your heater isn’t working to maintain the same higher temperature all day, every day.
Tip #3: Change your air filter.
The air flowing from the vents in your home first passes through the air filter in your furnace. If you don’t regularly change this filter, it’s going to get clogged with dirt, dust, pet hair, and other pollutants. As warm air is generated from your heating system, it moves through the air filter and can also push contaminants from the filter out into the air your family is breathing. This is bad news for anyone in your home who may suffer from respiratory issues, such as asthma.
Additionally, a dirty filter can make it difficult for warm air to pass through, causing extra strain on your heating system and leading to premature wear and tear. This could cause your system to break down unexpectedly and leave you with an expensive repair bill.
The general rule is to replace your air filter at least once per month, more often if you have individuals in your home who smoke, or if you have pets, as these could cause your filter to get dirty more quickly. If you aren’t sure what size filter you need, check your system’s owner’s manual, or the old filter, to see what type of replacement you need.
Tip #4: Check your vents.
One of the most overlooked reasons that a heater works overtime, and leaves you with a higher energy bill each month, is that the vents are blocked. Walk through each room of your home to be sure that the vents aren’t blocked or covered by furniture, rugs, or curtains. Vents need to be able to have warm air freely flow from them to keep your family warm and toasty.
Tip #5: Be mindful of your holiday lights.
This tip doesn’t relate to your heating system, but it can make an impact on your energy bills during the winter! Understandably, this is a time of year when many people decorate their homes for the holidays. If you’re one of them, be conservative in the number and size of lights and outdoor decorations you use that will require electricity. This includes lights and popular inflatable decorations.
Want help maintaining your home’s heating system?
At Oncourse Home Solutions, we offer an affordable Heating Maintenance Plan for homeowners like you. When you are enrolled, you are entitled to one annual tune-up for your heating system. Have questions? Feel free to click the Click to Chat tab on the right side of the page to speak with a customer service representative, or give us a call!