During the winter, a residential heating installation becomes a necessity in most homes. Due to this, heating bills are one of the biggest expenses for many homeowners. But there are ways to reduce your heating bill by taking proactive measures in advance. You can start right now in order to keep it low during the upcoming colder months.
The following are some simple ideas that you can put into practice immediately in order to keep your heating bill low during the winter:
- Find out what type of energy source your home uses primarily to heat itself – whether it’s gas, oil, electric or other sources like solar power. Then get at least three estimates from licensed contractors who specialize in furnace replacement. Getting more than one quote gives you leverage when negotiating prices and possibly free additions or upgrades. If you prefer a gas heating system, a propane tank installation may also be required. If your existing furnace is still in good condition, make sure that it gets regular furnace repair and tune up services to maintain its efficiency.
- Install a programmable thermostat in order to reduce the heating bill by three percent, which is equivalent to an estimated savings of $180 annually for each degree you lower your thermostat from the wintertime average. During the summer months when your home is not being heated by the sun, you can raise it back up slightly to save additional money. Some models allow you to adjust them according to a specific schedule or change settings via a remote control that someone else can operate if you’re away on vacation.
- Be sure that all windows and doors have weather strips installed around their frames in order to keep cold air from entering into your home after it’s been heated throughout the day. In addition, install storm windows and doors to further insulate your home and keep the warm air in.
- Clean or replace your furnace filters on a monthly basis, even more often if pets or someone in the home smokes. A dirty filter makes your heating system work harder and can reduce its efficiency, thus increasing your heating bill.
- Consider adding insulation to your attic, basement and crawl spaces if you haven’t done so already. The thicker the insulation, the better it will be at preventing heat from escaping through the roof, walls and floors.
- Install ceiling fans – especially if you have high ceilings. Ceiling fans cool people, not rooms, so by running them counterclockwise in the wintertime (the direction that produces a cooling effect), you’ll not only be saving money on your heating bill, but also lowering the humidity in your home.
- Over-sized windows and south-facing windows can decrease energy costs by allowing more natural sunlight into your home during the winter months.
- Turning down hot water heater temperatures to below 120 degrees Fahrenheit which reduces its energy usage rate by up to seven; washing only full loads of dishes and clothes; avoiding pre-rinsing dishes before they go into the dishwasher (this reduces water and energy use by up to 50%); and switching to an Energy Star appliance that can lower your heating bill.
- If you have a fireplace, be sure to use it frequently during the winter months as it can help to reduce your heating bill by up to 25%. However, make sure that the damper is closed when you’re not using it in order to prevent heat from escaping up the chimney.
In addition to these tips, heating system installation can be one of the best ways to reduce your annual heating costs, as well as improve the comfort and efficiency of your home. When shopping for a new system, be sure to compare the cost of installation with the estimated savings that you’ll receive over the lifetime of the system. Many heating contractors offer free or discounted installation rates when you purchase a new heating system, so be sure to ask about this when shopping around.
So, don’t wait until the cold weather arrives to start thinking about ways to keep your heating bill low. Take action now and you’ll be glad you did come January!