With how much we use our heating systems during the winter, it’s no secret that homeowners would like to do everything they can to avoid costly utility bills. Sure, your energy bills are going to raise in the wintertime (as well as the summer time) as your HVAC systems take up about half of all your energy use. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t steps you can take to increase their efficiency and thereby lower the costs a bit.
There are actually a number of things you can do, some of which won’t cost you a dime. Maintaining heating efficiency is also a great way to keep repair needs at bay. Keep reading as we uncover some of the best tips and tricks to boost efficiency and save money!
Utilize Your Blinds and Curtains
You likely already know to close your curtains during the summer to keep the heat out—especially on south facing windows. The opposite is true in the winter though—you want to keep heat in right? So during the day, when sunlight is shining through those windows, go ahead and throw open the curtains! Just be sure to close them again when the sun starts setting otherwise your home will cool down again real quick.
Use Your Ceiling Fans
This is another tip that’s not well known for wintertime. But there is a switch near the center of your fan that allows you to reverse the direction of the fan blades. This pulls hot air down from the ceiling, effectively making it feel warmer in the room. Since you’ll feel warmer, you can adjust your thermostat so the heater doesn’t cycle on as soon—therefore using the system more efficiently.
Program Your Thermostat
Don’t have a programmable thermostat? Consider an upgrade! Setting the right temperature is so important for heating efficiency. Lowering the temperature by just a few degrees at night or when you aren’t home can save you hundreds on annual heating costs! A programmable thermostat enables you to create a heating program based around your own personal schedule, and you don’t have to run the heater all day when you aren’t home.
Replace Dirty Air Filters
Many homeowners still don’t know this, but the air filter that comes standard with an HVAC system actually is not there to protect your indoor air quality. Instead, it is in place to protect the system itself from dirt, dust, and other debris that can get inside and cause it harm. When the air filter gets too clogged, it restricts airflow and causes your HVAC system to have to run too long, and work too hard as a result, to reach your desired temperature.
Air filters should be changed every 1-3 months depending on how often your system is used and the level of contaminants in your home. These filters will typically have a guide on their side saying how often they should be swapped out, and fortunately, this is one maintenance task homeowners can do on their own!