Home energy efficiency is important if you want to keep your power bills as low as possible. Learn how to make sure you're heating your home efficiently.
Heating your home during a cold winter can be a huge expense. Energy.gov reports that heating accounts for about 42 percent of the average homeowner’s yearly utility costs. In fact, your heating system uses more energy than any other system in your home. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you’re heating your home efficiently.
A heating tune-up can ensure that your furnace is functioning at optimal efficiency and nip any problems in the bud before they become major hassles. But furnace tune-ups aren’t the only thing you can do to maximize heating system efficiency in your home. You can also take steps to make sure your central heating isn’t going to waste, including installing a smart thermostat, auditing your home’s energy efficiency and choosing the right heating system when it’s time to upgrade your furnace.
Audit Your Home’s Energy Efficiency
Do you know where your home is losing the most heat? In many homes, heat escapes through cracks around doors and windows, and it can even escape through the glass of your window sashes if you’re still using old-fashioned, single-pane windows. You can assess your home’s energy efficiency yourself, or you can get a professional home energy audit. Your energy provider may be willing to provide this service for free.
You can use caulk, weather stripping or insulation to seal cracks around windows and doors. If single-pane windows are leaking precious heat, you can make them more efficient by installing storm windows. Insulating window coverings, like cellular shades, can also reduce heat loss through windows. If necessary, add insulation to your walls or attic to keep your home warmer for less.
Install a Smart Thermostat
Smart thermostats can save you money all year round, with manufacturers like Nest claiming you’ll save 10 to 12 percent on heating costs alone. A smart thermostat can be programmed to only heat your house during times when you’re awake and active, so you can lower the indoor temperature while you’re at work or asleep to slash heating costs. You can even control your home’s temperature from afar using a smartphone app, so if you’re working late or going out of town, you can tell your smart thermostat to keep the temperature at 65°F instead of cranking it all the way up to 72°F.
Service Your Furnace Yearly
You should get your furnace serviced every year, preferably before the cold weather hits. American Home Shield® offers its customers a Pre-Season Heating System Tune-Up for just $75 from September to November.
A heating system tune-up should involve checking and changing the filters, examining components of the furnace for wear, and suggesting needed repairs. The technician will also clean your unit so that it can operate efficiently and safely. A tune-up can prevent unexpected breakdowns and help you avoid both the inconvenience of a mid-winter furnace breakdown and the additional expense of buying and running electric space heaters while you wait for your furnace to be repaired. In addition to having your furnace serviced each fall, change your HVAC filters every 30 days to six months, depending on whether you have pets or household members with allergies or asthma.
To maximize heating efficiency throughout your house, make sure that vents, radiators and baseboard heaters have plenty of clearance. Closing vents in your home may not influence how much heat your furnace produces, but it could increase pressure in your ducts, causing leaks. Instead, turn the thermostat down as far as you can manage.
Reverse the direction on your ceiling fans to push warm air down from the ceiling. Open your curtains during the day, especially those that get a lot of sun – the sunlight can help warm the inside of your home for free. Worried about UV rays damaging your carpet or upholstery? Invest in solar shades that allow plenty of sunlight to shine through while blocking damaging UV rays.
Plan Your Next Furnace Upgrade Carefully
When it’s time to replace your furnace, you need to choose the right system for your needs and budget. Some systems, like electric and heating oil furnaces, are more expensive to operate, while others, like boilers and heat pumps, may not be as effective in areas prone to extreme temperatures. Consider the cost of operating a new furnace, as well as its efficiency rating and environmental limitations, before installing a new system.
The more efficiently you heat your home this winter, the less you’ll pay for heating costs. Don’t spend the winter shivering. Protect your heating and cooling system with a home warranty from American Home Shield. We’ll help you maintain and repair your central heating, boiler, or other heating system.