Many people say that fall is their favorite season of the year. Maybe that’s due to all the tasty pumpkin treats, or fun holidays like Halloween, or cozy and cuddly sweaters and scarves, or maybe it’s because the weather has finally cooled off and spending time outdoors is more pleasant.
Regardless of whether you consider fall your favorite, or if you’re more of a summer person, you will likely soon be switching your thermostat from “COOL” to “HEAT.” Even if you are a lover of all things autumn, you may shudder at the idea of facing higher energy bills due to the use of your home’s heating system.
Fortunately, there are a few simple things that the average homeowner can do to help save on their monthly heating bills.
Tip #1: Schedule a tune-up appointment for your furnace.
First things first — make an appointment with a professional heating technician to have your unit cleaned and inspected. During this maintenance check, the skilled and trained expert working on your furnace will ensure that all components inside your system are free of dirt and dust buildup and are working as efficiently as possible. If there are any problems detected, they may be able to be taken care of now, before the dead of winter when your family depends on your heating system the most.
Also, when your heater is operating efficiently, you won’t need to worry about it cycling on and off more often than it normally would (which could, in turn, lead to higher energy bills during the heating season).
Additionally, during a maintenance appointment, an experienced technician will ensure that your system is operating safely. If you have a natural gas unit, he or she will make sure there aren’t any gas or carbon monoxide leaks which could prove to be very dangerous for your family. If your heating system is powered by electricity, the technician will check the wiring to be sure there isn’t any damage, such as fraying, which could eventually lead to a fire.
Tip #2: Change your air filter often.
It’s recommended that you replace your heating system’s filter monthly. The job of the filter is to trap dirt, dust, and other airborne particles so that they don’t make their way into your home’s living space. When the filter is clogged, warm air from your furnace can’t easily make its way through and out into the ductwork. This could cause your heater to work overtime to try and push heated air out into your home. All this use could lead to premature wear and tear on your unit, and ultimately an untimely and expensive breakdown. Also, this excessive cycling on/off will lead to higher-than-normal heating bills from month to month.
Along with keeping your heater running efficiently, changing your filter on a routine basis will help to keep the air inside your home clean and fresh. This can be especially important if you have family members who have respiratory problems, such as asthma, or if anyone in your home suffers from allergies.
Tip #3: Change the direction your ceiling fan blades spin.
During the heating season, your ceiling fan blades should be spinning in a clockwise direction as you look up at them. This helps to push warm air back down into your living space. This is an often-overlooked trick that many homeowners don’t know about. You may be surprised by how much warmer this can help make your living space feel on those chilly fall and winter days.
Tip #4: Keep your thermostat set at 68 degrees Fahrenheit
If possible, keep your thermostat set at this temperature when you’re home for the most efficient use of your furnace. During the day when your family is at work or school, and at night when you are sleeping, you can set the thermostat to be several degrees cooler. Many homeowners are shocked by how much money they can save on their heating bills by adjusting their thermostat by just a few degrees.
Temperature setting can easily be performed with a programmable thermostat. This device will help you schedule when the temperatures will decrease during the day and/or night, and you can also set when you’d like for things to start warming up — e.g., before your family returns home at the end of the day.
Tip #5: Check for air loss.
Before the brutal temperatures of winter arrive, check for areas of air loss around window and door frames. This can easily be done by running your hand over the perimeter of your frames. If you notice areas where there’s cold air passing through from outside, these spots will need to have sealant or weatherstripping added.
When you have openings in your window and door frames, chilly outdoor air can get in and heated air from your furnace can escape. In turn, this will lead to your heating system working extra hard to keep your home nice and toasty, which could potentially lead to very high heating bills each month. Adding this sealant or weatherstripping now will also help you to save money on your energy bills during the cooling season — since hot, humid air from outside won’t be able to get in, and cool air from your AC won’t escape.
Bonus tip: Sign up for extra care for your heating system
Want some help and peace of mind? At Oncourse Home Solutions, we offer affordable Heating Maintenance and Heating Repair Plans to help homeowners defray the costs of keeping their family warm and comfortable throughout the fall and winter months. When you’re enrolled in our maintenance plan, you’re entitled to an annual tune-up appointment for your furnace. And when you’re enrolled in our repair plan and a covered problem pops up in your home with your heater, simply give us a call and we will have a technician come to you to diagnose and take care of the problem!
Visit us online and enter your ZIP code to see available protection plans and pricing in your area. Have questions? Click the Click to Chat tab on the right side of the page to chat with a customer service representative.