Looking for ways to lower your heating bill? You’re far from the only one. According to PBS “roughly one in six American households are behind on utility bills, as energy prices surge across the U.S. to the highest level in nearly 15 years.” Dramatic inflationary pressures mean you’ll have to get creative about staying warm without breaking the bank.
So, while you can’t control natural gas prices, you can improve the way your home maintains heat and how you use it. We spoke to home and energy pros for their expert tips from bigger investments to simple swaps for saving on the ever-dreaded mid-winter heating bill.
1. Service your appliances.
Sometimes you have to spend to save. At least, that can be the case when trying to lower your heating bill. HomeAdvisor’s home expert Dan DiClerico recommends paying a professional to inspect your furnace each year. This can cost between $80 and $200, but you’ll find out whether anything needs your attention, which could save you from a more costly repair later on.
Another green solution is to switch to a solar heating system. The initial costs of installation are large, but long-term residents reap huge rewards, including tax credits. Don’t wait for the entire system to fail to plan for a replacement.
2. Clean your heating system.
If an overhaul isn’t in your budget, a much cheaper but still effective option is to clean the heating system, including ductwork and filters. Every HVAC system is different, but the filters must be changed periodically for the entire system to function well. Thinner filters need seasonal replacement, but larger systems may be able to go six to nine months without a change. New filters won’t save a lot of money, but you’ll usually break even. That, and overall your unit will work more efficiently and ultimately last longer.
It can also pay to have someone look at your ductwork. Fixing leaks in duct work requires a Green Apple professional but can save hundreds of dollars a year. We know that as much as 30 percent of heated air is lost to leaks in the duct work. So, don’t delay this important maintenance work.
3. Seal air leaks.
Think of your home as an envelope and make sure to seal all cracks. Feel for drafts around pipes, doors, windows, and electrical and cable outlets. Inexpensive draft blockers and outlet sealers can fix many of these problem areas.
“Make sure your window stripping and door stripping are in good condition too. When it gets cold out, these types of building materials shrink. Get a Green Apple Mechanical professional to come in and seal cracks around windows and doors or plan to spend a weekend doing it yourself.
You’ll also want to make sure your home’s overall insulation is working well. If your home was built before 1980, it’s more likely to need an upgrade. You’ll know you have an insulation problem if the snow melts quickly off your roof and creates lots of icicles. According to the Environmental Protection Agency sealing up these cracks can save an average of 15% on heating and cooling costs.
4. Cover the windows.
The Department of Energy reports that “about 30 percent of a home’s heating energy is lost through windows.” Of course, if the windows are old and warped, you’ll want to get new ones before the worst of the snow and freezing rain starts. These days, it can take weeks and even months to get windows ordered and installed, so now is the time to get started.
If you’re not ready for a replacement, though, thermal curtains can help to hold you over. Floor-length window coverings can block cold air from seeping through the windows and can stop indoor heat from escaping. They usually have two to four layers of fabric, including a center panel of insulated foam. If you don’t want to sacrifice light, try Low-E window film to effectively add another layer of insulation. These thin films act as a shield blocking heat as it tries to escape through the windows and reflect it back inside.
5. Lower the thermostat.
Lowering your thermostat by a few degrees can add up to big savings. According to the Department Of Energy turning down the thermostat by 7 to 10 degrees for up to 8 hours can help you save up to 10 percent on your annual energy bill. Also, turn the heating down to the lowest bearable level at night, while you’re out at work, or when you’re on vacation. However, in some places, you don’t want to turn it off completely or the pipes could freeze and burst.
To save yourself the hassle of constantly adjusting the temperature, you can invest in a programmable or smart thermostat that can automatically adjust the temperature according to your needs.
Renters beware that many of the energy controls in your building or home may require your landlord’s permission. In some apartments, you may need to work with building maintenance to determine if your unit can be controlled separately from others. If you’re renting a stand-alone home, discuss major upgrades with your landlord before touching anything that would affect the water, gas, and electricity of the home.
Green Apple Mechanical NJ are the experts you can trust. We have been serving the New Jersey area for years with professionalism and expertise. Customer service and care are always our number one priorities. If you have any questions or concerns regarding any of your HVAC needs call us today toll-free at 888-611-7191