With temps in the 90s, the last thing you're probably thinking about is bundling up in a cozy sweater and sipping hot chocolate in front of the fire, but before you know it, those winter days will be here. And if you want to save money on your home heating bill this winter, you should start to think about efficiency now.
Check out these summer-time steps you can take to reduce the cost of heating your home during the winter.
1. Clean Your Filters
If you didn't change your filter at the end of last winter, make sure to clean or replace your filter now. If your filter is full of dust, air cannot pass through it, and as a result, your furnace will run less efficiently and drive up your heating bill.
Perhaps even more significantly, a dirty filter increases the amount of dirt and grime in your furnace, and grimy build-up can slow down moving parts, prevent air from flowing through your system, and lead to breakdowns. By simply replacing your filter, you sidestep a lot of risks and expenses.
2. Invest in a Programmable Thermostat
If you're still manually adjusting your thermostat during the day, you are likely losing money. Consider investing in a programmable thermostat so that you can set up your thermostat to match your lifestyle. Ideally, you should keep the temps low when you're sleeping or not at home, and save the warmer temps for when you're actively at home.
For even more savings, consider a smart thermostat. These thermostats connect to an app so you can make adjustments remotely. For instance, if you decide to come home later in the evening, you can keep the thermostat on low so you don't waste energy heating an empty home. On the flip side, you can also tell the thermostat to get your house warm and ready if you decide to go home early.
3. Consider a More Efficient Heating System
If your heating system is old and inefficient, you may want to consider investing in a more efficient home heating solution or augmenting your current heating solution with a heat pump. An HVAC professional can help you crunch the numbers to see if the boost in efficiency is worth the cost of the upgrade, and programs such as MassSave can help you save money through rebates.
4. Upgrade Wood Burning Fireplaces
If you have a wood burning fireplace as your main source of heat or to support other heating solutions, you should take some time to make sure it's as efficient as possible. Depending on your situation, you may want to add an energy efficient insert, clean the chimney, or invest in additional heating solutions.
5. Seal Cracks and Leaks
Where is heat going to escape from your house this winter? If you see any visible cracks, use expanding foam to fill them, and add weather stripping as needed around windows and doors. To find hard-to-spot cracks, run a stick of lit incense around your doors or windows. If you see the smoke wavering or being sucked out, you've found a drafty area.
6. Insulate the Attic
Warm air rises, and if you live in an old home, you may be losing a lot of heat through your attic, and you should consider adding insulation. To put it in simple terms, the ultimate effect is similar to wearing a warm hat on a cold day — the extra insulation will help to keep your home warmer without making your heater work as hard.
7. Schedule Routine Maintenance
Routine maintenance helps to ensure your furnace is ready to work efficiently and safely during the winter. During a typical furnace maintenance appointment, an HVAC technician does the following and more:
Cleans or replaces air filters.
Removes blockages from vents and air intake grilles
Checks the heat exchanger for signs of damage or corrosion.
Examines the blower fan motor for obstructions or grimy build-up.
Inspects electrical connections. Tightens and replaces wires as needed.
Checks and cleans burners and flame sensors.
Looks at belts for damage or cracks.
Calibrates your thermostat.
Lubricates all moving parts.
Tests safety controls.
Ensures the start-up cycle is working properly.
Examines fuel lines for leaks on gas furnaces.
Tests gas pressure and inspects thermocouple.
Routine maintenance saves you money by boosting the efficiency of your furnace, improving the lifespan of your equipment, and reducing the risk of unexpected repairs.
To schedule routine maintenance for your furnace, heat pump, or other heating solution, contact us at N.E.T.R., Inc today. For over 30 years, we have been meeting the HVAC needs of homes and businesses in Boston and the surrounding area, and we look forward to helping you save money on winter heating costs.