As outside temperatures drop, most homeowners will see an increase in their monthly energy statement. However, if your heating bills are starting to soar without explanation, there are ways to reduce them. Here are five causes of rising heating costs and what you can do to control them.
1. A lack of routine maintenance. One big reason for higher than normal heating bills is skipping annual maintenance on your HVAC system. Heating systems need to be maintained and serviced to ensure they are running efficiently and effectively, as well as to catch and repair issues before they become costly problems. Regular inspections, HVAC system cleanings, and changing out air filters when needed helps reduce the stress on your heating system, and make it run more efficiently.
2. Poor or damaged insulation. If your heater is running all day, but your home isn’t getting warmer, you may have inadequate insulation. Exterior walls and ceilings should be properly insulated, and entry doors should be lined with foam weatherstripping, to allow for minimal heat transfer at a consistent indoor temperature. Be sure to also seal older windows as they let cold air into your home.
3. An inefficient heating system. All heating systems require power to function, whether it comes from gas, oil or electricity. An inefficient unit that generates less heat, will require more electricity or fuel. As your system works harder to produce the expected amount of heat, your bill will quickly shoot up. Your system could be inefficient due to age or leaking ductwork. Since these issues are harder to self-diagnose, contact a home comfort specialist to fully inspect your home heating system.
Pro Tip: When buying a new heating system, look for an ENERGY STAR® certified and high AFUE ranking for furnaces and boilers or SEER rating for heat pumps. The more efficient your heating system is, the better value you get for every dollar you spend on fuel or electricity.
4. An improperly-sized heating system. Depending on your home’s square footage, your heating system could be producing more heat than you need. Equipment that is too small will constantly run trying to reach the desired temperature, but likely never achieving it. This will cause wear on your system, raise your energy bills, and keep you from being comfortable. When equipment is too large for your home it will short cycle, meaning it constantly turns on and off. Short cycling also causes wear and tear, reducing your system’s lifespan and increasing your energy bills.
5. Not using a programmable thermostat. It sounds counterintuitive, but turning your heating system on and off on a daily basis consumes more energy than keeping it running all day. To conserve energy, install a programmable, “set it and forget it” thermostat. Simply program the thermostat, adjusting the temperature several degrees lower when you leave home or go to sleep, and pre-set it to automatically kick back up when you’re at home during the day.
HVAC Installation, Service, and Repair in NH and MA
If it’s been a while since your home heating system has been cleaned and inspected, or if you’ve noticed your energy bills are creeping up each winter, contact our home comfort specialists. We’re ready to help you get your home heating system running efficiently so you’re warm and cozy all winter long.