Saving money doesn’t always seem so easy, right? Especially when temperatures drop and you have to use your furnace daily in order to keep yourself and your family comfortable. The fact of the matter is, HVAC systems use up about half of all your home’s energy use. This doesn’t mean, however, that things are hopeless. There are absolutely ways to use your furnace more efficiently than you are now, and by doing so you can help reduce your energy bills.
Read on as we cover how to improve heating efficiency with a few easy-to-follow tips. Some of these cost you nothing at all!
Use a Programmable Thermostat
When you set a programmable thermostat to a reasonable temperature, you can help cut back on your energy use, and therefore your energy costs. Modern programmable models allow you to set different schedules, and you can even take this a couple of steps further with a WiFi/Smart thermostat. Smart thermostats actually learn from your heating and cooling preferences and adjust accordingly.
Lower the Temperature Setting
If you really want to cut back on energy costs a bit, you might need to make a shift in where you typically set your thermostat. The Department of Energy suggests a thermostat of about 68°F if you want to save energy. You can lower this, even more, when you aren’t home or when you are sleeping. This means your furnace won’t run as long during the day, and therefore not use as much energy.
Take Advantage of Other Heat Sources
Your furnace isn’t the only way to keep warm indoors. For a little natural heat, if you have south-facing windows then open your blinds and curtains on sunny days! Also, while we would never recommend using cooking appliances as your main source of heat, for safety purposes, cold days are a great opportunity to cook those hearty meals you’ve been craving.
Use your oven! And if you don’t have any small children or pets in the home, open the oven door as the system cools down, as this helps the heat naturally distribute itself through your living space.
Change the Air Filter!
There is a common misconception that the air filter that comes standard with your HVAC systems is in place to protect your indoor air quality. While it doesn’t hurt your indoor air quality, this is actually not its main purpose. Its purpose is to protect the internal components of the HVAC systems themselves.
When the air filter gets too clogged up with dirt, dust, and other debris, it causes restricted airflow. This means that your furnace or heating system has to essentially “work harder” to do its job by running longer to try to achieve the desired temperature setting on your thermostat.
Your air filter is something you can and should change on your own, every 1-3 months, depending on the type of filter and the level of contaminants in your home (a household with pets will have pet hair and dander to deal with, for example)