High fuel cost, high demand, and a colder winter can all add up to higher utility bills. Whether you rely on natural gas, electricity, or heating oil to keep you and your family warm, keeping heating costs as low as possible is a top priority.
Thankfully, there are several low and no-cost ways to lower your heating expenses this season. While some might seem obvious, these small changes can add up to big savings. If you’d like to learn more about how to save on heating bills this winter, here are our top six suggestions:
1. Save Money with a Furnace Tune-Up
How to save on heating costs can start with a furnace tune-up. Heating your home during the coldest months of the year is often your largest energy expense – and it’s where you can save the most money, too.
Have a professional check your system to ensure it’s operating as efficiently as possible. An HVAC professional can clean and test your system and inspect it for corrosion. If any parts are in need of a replacement, a professional can make recommendations and perform any needed repairs, too.
Even something as simple as changing filters regularly can help your furnace operate more efficiently and lower energy costs. A dirty filter restricts airflow and causes your furnace to work a lot harder than it needs to. While some filters can last up to 60 days, others require changing them monthly. If your furnace operates regularly throughout the winter, check your filter(s) every 2-3 weeks, and replace them as needed.
2. Invest in a Programmable Thermostat
Investing in a programmable thermostat is another great way to save on heating costs. Many homeowners run their furnaces more often than necessary. Installing a programmable thermostat allows you to set a lower temperature while you’re sleeping or away. A smart thermostat will enable you to control the temperature right from your phone, whether you’re home or away. .
3. Set it and Forget it
Setting and forgetting thermostats can also help save money on your heating bill. Too often, we take an intuitive approach to adjusting the thermostat and crank the heat at the slightest hint of a chill. In reality, our bodies acclimate fairly quickly. Resist the urge to raise the heat when first arriving home. Oversetting the thermostat doesn’t warm the house any faster, and you can save about one to three percent on your bill for each degree you lower the thermostat.
4. Identify Sources of Heat Loss
Identifying sources of heat loss is another great strategy to save costs on heating bills. Tiny gaps and cracks in windows and doors can result in a serious loss of energy and comfort. Use weatherstripping or caulk to seal cracks and openings in window frames and doors. Look for gaps where pipes enter your home and seal them with expanding foam insulation. Check your attic, crawl space, basement, and walls to ensure they are sufficiently insulated. Poor or neglected insulation will let colder air in and cause excess heat to leak outside, which will increase heating costs.
5. Check Your Fireplace Damper
If you have a fireplace in your home, it may also be worth investigating as a source of heat loss. An open fireplace damper invites cold air inside, so make sure the damper remains closed when not in use. However, don’t forget to open it when you’re ready to use your fireplace.
If you can’t remember the proper level position for open versus closed, try using a visual reminder. An instruction tag can help you remember to close your damper after every use. When your fireplace is in use, be sure to always close the doors to the room so you can conserve the heat it’s giving off.
6. Switch Ceiling Fans to Run Counterclockwise
Ceiling fans can also help you save money on your heating bill. Many homeowners don’t realize that switching ceiling fans to run counterclockwise during the winter months can save energy. There is usually a small switch at the base of the fan to change which way the fan will rotate. When blades travel counterclockwise, they pull air upward. Warm air trapped near the ceiling travels down the walls and throughout the room.
To check if the blades of your fan are spinning in the right, counterclockwise direction, stand underneath it. You shouldn’t feel any air blowing down.
FAQs About How to Save On Heating Costs
Still unsure about how to save on heating bills? Here are some answers to a few of the most frequently asked questions on the subject:
Why is My Heating Bill So High?
If your heating bill is higher than usual, check for gaps and cracks around your home, especially windows and doors, where warm air might be escaping. Fireplace dampers are also a major culprit. If there’s no obvious source of heat loss, you may want to have an HVAC professional investigate.
Is it Cheaper to Leave the Heat On All Day?
Turning down the thermostat is one of the most effective ways to save on heating costs. You can save approximately 15 percent of your total heating bill just by lowering your heat seven degrees over an eight-hour period. If you leave for work in the morning and don’t need to heat an empty house, turn down the thermostat while you’re away. This strategy also works well for overnight hours when you’re comfortably asleep under thick blankets. A programmable or smart thermostat is a great way to manage your heat setting when you’re away from home.
Why Does My House Cost So Much to Heat?
Some older houses may cost more than others to keep warm. That’s because many older homes are full of gaps and cracks that allow warm air to seep outside. A lack of proper or quality insulation may also contribute to heat loss and higher energy costs. If you’re running your furnace all day and don’t notice your home getting any warmer, it’s best to have an HVAC professional identify the source of the problem..
If your heating system is struggling to maintain a comfortable temperature and none of the above strategies have proven effective, request an appointment with your local Aire Serv today! Our team of experienced professionals can inspect your HVAC system for issues and provide guidance on how to save money on your heating bill., now.
Want to learn more about how to heat and cool your home effectively? The Aire Serv blog is a treasure trove of information on the subject. Bookmark it and refer back any time you need answers to HVAC questions.