It shouldn’t surprise you to hear that you can stay warm and cut heating costs at the same time. After all, mankind survived thousands of winters before HVACs were even invented. Besides that, a lot of people aren’t using their heaters as efficiently as they could be.
Still, if you’re struggling to balance comfort with cost this winter, we can help. Below are several easy tips on how to cut heating costs without freezing to death. In fact, these tips are so easy, you can apply most of them the second you read them!
Follow these steps to keep warm without breaking the bank.
1. Keep Your HVAC Maintained All Year
Go ahead and look everywhere else on the internet if you want to. You’re never going to find a better tip than this on how to stay warm while saving money.
The fact is, your HVAC works better when it’s properly maintained, which is actually two facts. One, your heater does a better job keeping your whole house warm. And two, that means that it costs less to run it.
Think about it. When your house warms faster, the HVAC doesn’t have to run as long per cycle.
Also, a poorly-maintained, inefficient HVAC has to work harder to perform the same job, which uses more power. So, ultimately, when you neglect regular maintenance, your heating costs more to run and it runs for longer each day.
Plus, you won’t stay very warm if your HVAC breaks due to a lack of maintenance. Thus, do your yearly HVAC maintenance in fall and spring, before the seasons in which you need it most.
2. Change Your Air Filters More Often In Winter
As important as your yearly, professional HVAC inspection is, you need to do your part, too. Specifically, your HVAC won’t run well when it’s clogged by a dirty air filter. When the filter is completely full of dust, it just sits there, blocking the heated air from blowing into your house.
Also, most people run their HVAC more frequently the colder those winter days get. Thus, your air filter fills up more quickly. You should check it at least once a month in winter and change it when necessary.
3. Get an Energy Audit
A high energy bill isn’t just a problem for you. It’s an even bigger problem for your local electric company. Between the Christmas lights and the increased heater usage, it’s always a struggle to provide everyone with enough energy this time of year.
Thus, your electric company will be overjoyed to perform an energy audit. This tells you exactly how you can cut heating costs, and then some.
For example, they might suggest better insulation for your home or your HVAC ducts. They can also point out air leaks in your home that let your expensively-heated air escape.
4. Bundle Up
This tip is so easy and obvious, it should go without saying. But, since it’s also easy to become a slave to convenience, we’ll say it anyway. Lower your thermostat as much as you can stand.
Since your first thought at that suggestion is probably a crying emoji, here’s a way to soften this blow. Remember that running your heater is a recurring cost. But stocking up on warm, comfy blankets is a one-time expense.
Thinking about it that way, you’ve no reason to suffer. Go ahead and spoil yourself with a cold-weather shopping spree. Don’t forget to grab yourself some slippers and a few soft, fuzzy footie pajamas.
Oh, and don’t forget the most important part, either. Keep the thermostat as low as you can, as long as it doesn’t impede the health of persons or pets in your home.
5. Program Your Thermostat
Don’t just set your thermostat at 68 degrees and call it “done.” That might be good for tonight, but what about tomorrow?
If you’re at work for 8 hours while no one else is home, you can set it even lower. Why heat an empty house?
Better yet, keep it programmed appropriately according to your schedule. If your thermostat is not programmable, consider getting a different one.
Take note, though: don’t freeze your pets. Make sure they stay within their ideal temperature range.
6. Maintain Control Over Your Thermostat
Well done. You’ve made the strong decision to keep your thermostat at a lower temperature throughout the winter. Unfortunately, that doesn’t do you any good if others in your household, or the thermostat itself, change the setting the moment your back is turned.
First, let’s address the thermostat itself. How reliable is it?
Does it work the way it’s supposed to? More importantly, do you understand how to use it properly?
All of these factors may thwart your plans to keep your home at the temperature you choose. So, check your manual and test your thermostat. If it doesn’t work reliably, replace it.
7. End the Thermostat War
Next, defiant teenagers and other members of your household can also sabotage your efforts to control the temperature. Make sure everyone living with you knows to keep the thermostat set to the way you programmed it. Or, if not you, designate one person to be in charge of the thermostat settings.
Make sure you enforce this plan. For example, those who wish to keep the house warmer can pay for half the bill.
8. Close/Open the Appropriate Vents
Next, stop heating rooms you don’t need to. If you have an empty guest room, close the supply vent in that room so you’re not wasting energy keeping it warm. Also, keep the door to that room closed and stuff a towel under it to block it off completely.
On the other hand, open up the vents and doors of the rooms you do want to heat. Make sure nothing is obstructing any of these vents.
Also, keep the intake vents clear of any cobwebs or dust that will obstruct airflow. That way, the circulated air flows freely and the heater can warm your house more easily.
9. Get a New Heater
Lastly, consider how much a new heater will save you on your monthly energy bill. (Or, better yet, get a price quote.)
This is especially a smart idea if your HVAC is very old. Replacing your 12-year-old HVAC with a new, ENERGY STAR certified HVAC could save you 30% off your monthly heating cost.
Stay Warm and Reduce HVAC Costs With These Tips
Don’t let old man winter get the best of your holiday season. Remember and follow these tips to stay warm and reduce your heating costs.
Need some more tips on maintaining the proper temperature in your home? Then read this next: 7 Ways to Avoid Hot and Cold Spots in Your Home.