Finances are a common stressor over the winter, with the holidays and family gatherings. Your furnace is just another financial stressor, both in terms of possible repairs and in terms of the operating cost. Here are some simple ways to reduce your heating bills this winter and keep more funds in your pocket.
Clear Your Vents
The first things to check are the vents around your home to make sure that they are open and clear. Your system depends on its ability to circulate air both through the system and through your house by these vents.
If your vents are blocked, the air cannot circulate effectively, reducing your system’s efficiency. In addition to open vents throughout your home, you also need at least a 2-inch clearance around each vent. Also, keep doors open as much as possible to help improve overall air circulation around your home.
Use Ceiling Fans
Ceiling fans are an incredible addition to your home’s HVAC system, aiding in your home’s circulation. The ceiling fan creates an additional draw, pulling the cool air up and forcing the warm air down.
Your ceiling fan has two settings on it, controlled by a little switch on its side. In order for the fan to circulate air properly for the winter, it must spin counterclockwise. Over the summer, it spins clockwise to create a windchill and help make the air feel cooler.
Schedule Professional Maintenance
One of the most important things that you can do to control your heating bills is scheduling your annual professional maintenance. As your system runs, tiny particles slip past your air filter and settle around your system. It also vibrates as it runs, loosening some mounts, which increases operational strain on your furnace’s components.
During a routine maintenance visit, your tech will clean your system, ensuring that air can flow through your home and system without restrictions. They will also tighten the mounting bolts and screws to reduce any unusual vibration during a cycle.
Program Your Thermostat
You may think the best way to reduce your heating bill is to maintain a constant temperature all day long. However, the Department of Energy argues that you can save up to 10% of your heating bill by using your thermostat’s programs.
Look for the times when people aren’t home or will be in bed, and reduce the temperature by 7 to 10 degrees. Ideally, keep the temperature down for about eight hours each day to achieve optimal savings.
If you have a programmable digital thermostat, you can set it to automatically adjust during the hours ideal for your household. Be sure to check what kind of programs your thermostat offers to see if you can set different programs for weekends versus weekdays.
Change Your Furnace Filter
One of the best ways to keep your furnace operating efficiently is to keep your furnace filters clean. Most 1-inch filters need replacing about every 90 days, depending on air quality.
When your filter clogs up, it prevents air from flowing into your system, reducing its efficiency. Plan to check your filters monthly so that you find out how quickly they clog in your home. While you’re checking them, gently vacuum the intake side of the filter to help extend its service life.
Seal Your Ducts
Your ducts can be a major loss of heat if they run through non-heated parts of your home, like your basement. The heat transfers through the ducts to these spaces, making it cooler when it arrives at the destination. The result is longer run cycles to achieve your desired temperature.
The other problem with ducts is that leaks tend to occur over time. These leaks allow the heated air to escape through the ductwork before it can reach the room that it should heat. To combat both leaking and heat transfer, have your ducts professionally sealed and insulated.
Replace an Aging Unit
A furnace naturally loses some of its efficiency as it ages, in part as a result of some components running suboptimally. The average furnace has an expected service life of about 15 to 20 years. If your furnace is getting along in years, consider replacing it with a newer, more efficient model.
Affordable Service Solutions Heating & Air Conditioning has proudly served the Richmond community since 2017. Our technicians provide heating and cooling installation, maintenance, and repairs, not to mention indoor air quality solutions. Call to schedule your furnace maintenance with one of our technicians today.