If you’re like most Americans who live in areas where winters are cold, your heating bill is a serious consideration. If you live in a large home, your monthly costs can spiral out of control. Even if you live in an apartment or small house, constant heating can put a definite strain on your budget. Most of us know what it’s like to open a bill and be shocked by the money we owe.
So what’s going on? Is it simply that expensive to keep your home warm, or are there other factors in play?
Many people are surprised to learn that their heating expenses are climbing through the roof due to simple, preventable mistakes. By learning from HVAC specialists, identifying these mistakes and taking action to correct them, you’ll be able to exercise greater control over your monthly heating costs.
1. You’re Heating When No One is Home
If you have a central heating system, your heating output is controlled by a thermostat. This is convenient because it allows you to set a temperature and forget about it—the system will work independently to keep the temperature constant.
The downside is, the system doesn’t know whether or not anybody is home. If everybody leaves the house for work or school, and the thermostat is not adjusted, the heat will continue pouring in with no one to enjoy it. This causes expenses to soar.
If you have an older thermostat, get into a routine of setting a lower temperature when no one is going to be home for several hours. If you have a programmable or smart thermostat, you’ll be able to tell your thermostat when to kick out the heat and when to lay off, in accordance with your family’s daily schedule. The result is significant monthly savings.
2. Your Windows are Leaking Heat
There are two ways this can happen. The first is that your windows aren’t properly closed and latched. This is an obvious drain on your bank account as the heater works harder to compensate for leaking air.
The second, more common cause of heat leaking our through the windows (and cold leaking into the house) is poor insulation and sealing. Older windows are particularly susceptible. If you’re not confident assessing the windows yourself, an HVAC specialist can perform an on-site inspection to determine whether heat is being lost through your windows.
3. You’re Letting the House Get Too Cold at Night
While it’s true that you don’t want to be heating the house when nobody’s home, there’s another thing to consider. If you try to pinch pennies by letting the house get ice cold while you’re warm under the covers, the system will have to work harder to recover the lost heat when your crank it back up in the morning. Most people find that turning the heat down 5-10% at night results in optimal energy savings. Any more than that, and the strategy may prove counterproductive.
Heating is a basic necessity in cold climates, and today’s heating systems are designed for efficiency and high output. That said, monthly expenses can still climb high if we make one or more of the mistakes listed above. The good news is that be making a few small corrections in the way we use our heating systems, you’ll see a definite difference when it comes time to settle the bill.
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