The cold weather is here, and we are finally starting to turn on the heater. We all know there’s usually a spike in utility bills around this season, but are you still wondering what’s the best way to keep your energy bills under control? The answer is to make sure you’re using your heating system properly. This winter, avoid these 5 mistakes that drive up your heating bill.
Having a Clogged and Dirty Air Filter
Air filters are designed to remove dirt and debris from the air circulating through your home. Unfortunately, over time, they become clogged with dirt and dust, which reduces their efficiency and makes them more likely to break down.
Replacing your air filter regularly can help improve air quality in your home and reduce energy costs by increasing the efficiency of your heating and cooling system.
If you’re not sure whether your air filter needs to be changed, look for dust buildup on the grill or under the hood of your furnace. If there’s dust, it’s time to change it. Contact your local HVAC technician to schedule an HVAC tune-up if you need help with how to change the air filter.
The Thermostat is in the Wrong Place
While getting a smart thermostat is a great way to lower your energy bills, there are also ways of optimizing the placement of your current thermostat. But where should you put it? Here are some top tips.
Avoid Windows and Doors
There are two reasons why placing a traditional thermostat near a window or door isn’t such a good idea. First, the thermostat will be affected by outside temperature changes. Second, this type of placement doesn’t allow for accurate monitoring of indoor temperature fluctuations.
On the Ground Floor
The closer the thermostat is to where most people spend most of their time, the more accurate its readings will be — which means better control over energy costs. Remember, heat rises, so upstairs thermostats won’t take accurate readings.
Not Near Vents
Try not to place your thermostat near an HVAC vent or return air grill because it may not accurately reflect what’s happening in other parts of your home.
Here are some tips on how to get the most out of your thermostat:
Avoid windows and doors. These areas tend to be cold spots in the house and will cause your system to work harder than necessary.
On the ground floor. Heat rises, so it’s best to place your thermostat on the ground floor. You want your thermostat in an area with good circulation — so avoid putting it near an appliance like a refrigerator or hot water heater that could affect temperature readings. The best place is usually near where most people spend their time.
Not near vents. A venting system’s heat may skew temperature readings on older thermostats.
A HVAC tune-up involves checking the parts of a heating system — including the furnace or boiler, heat exchanger, blower, and controls — for proper function and efficiency. It also includes cleaning and adjusting the furnace or boiler to operate at peak performance.
If your heating system isn’t working correctly, it could waste energy, raising your utility bills unnecessarily high. By performing regular tune-ups on your HVAC equipment, you’ll be able to catch any problems before they become too costly to fix. It can also help improve air quality in your home by reducing dust buildup inside ductwork and vents.
If you wait too long to get your furnace serviced, it can lead to serious problems down the road — including damaged parts that need replacing immediately at a cost far greater than what a tune-up would have cost.
Closing Registers and Vents
Closing your home’s vents and registers in winter is a common mistake. It’s understandable since many homeowners worry about keeping their homes warm and bills low. But there are several reasons why closing return vents is a bad idea.
When you close vents and registers, you restrict the flow of heated or cooled air through your home. This forces your furnace to work harder to maintain the same comfort level throughout your home.
In addition, if you close off your ductwork completely, this can cause pressure imbalances within your heating system, leading to damage and repair costs down the road.
Adjusting the Thermostat Too Much
If you’re looking to save money on your heating bill, you might think cranking up your thermostat will make your home warmer faster. But while it’s true that increasing the temperature setting on your thermostat can raise the temperature of your house, it won’t do so any quicker than a lower setting.