Being warm in the midst of winter and keeping heating costs down is every homeowner’s wish. Heating and cooling your home efficiently depends on the total square footage of your home and how warm you need your house to be. However, a few homeowners make assumptions about how to best regulate the temperature in their homes, and end up making costly mistakes.
However, a few homeowners make assumptions about how to best regulate the temperature in their homes, and end up making costly mistakes. For instance, natural gas is deregulated in much of the U.S. So, if you’re planning to heat your home with natural gas, it pays to check natural gas rates in your area and make the shift.
Here are five common heating mistakes that could be spiking your electricity bills.
Neglecting Annual Furnace Maintenance
Most homeowners assume that their heating system is functioning and won’t need any tuneups before winter. Unfortunately, your system may be having internal issues, even if it is still pushing out warm air. Some of these include:
- Dirty air filters: These are caused by debris build-up after filtration. Your air filter gets so dirty that it struggles to let air flow throughout your ductwork. This causes your system to take longer to cool your home down, raising your power bills.
- Duct leaks: A duct leak reduces the ability of your system to distribute air. This causes your system to run longer and harder.
- Failing parts: After long periods of use, it’s inevitable that some of the components in your heating system break down. This drop in performance leads to lower efficiency, which, in turn, spikes your energy consumption over time.
- Low refrigerant levels: Refrigerants are the fluids that keep heat pumps running. As the amount eventually runs low after use, your system will end up using more energy to maintain its performance.
Failure to have these issues addressed could lead to major repairs or cause your unit to run inefficiently. The result could be a spike in your energy bills.
Similar to your car, an HVAC unit needs regular maintenance to avoid issues from developing. Schedule maintenance and annual tuneups with a heating company to prevent any problems and ensure your system runs at peak efficiency throughout the year.
Setting the Thermostat Higher or Too Low
An incorrect thermostat setting could be guzzling energy and costing you a lot in utility bills. Some homeowners assume that cranking up the thermostat will heat the house faster, but this is not the case. What happens is that your heating unit only ends up running longer and consuming more energy.
What’s more, turning the thermostat too low only forces your heating unit to work harder to bring the temperature back up again. That strains the system, leading to high energy bills.
Rather than turning up the thermostat to a high setting immediately, slowly increase the temperature throughout the day. That will reduce your chances of getting a high bill and won’t affect your heating system. The U.S. Department of Energy discovered that you could save up to 10% annually on heating costs by turning your thermostat down seven to 10 degrees Fahrenheit for eight hours a day from its regular setting.
Closing Unused Doors and Vents
Another common mistake that could be costing you is closing off unused doors and vents. Most homeowners assume that by closing off doors and vents, they can effectively heat the remaining space and save up on the high energy costs.
Unfortunately, this is not true, A heating system is designed to provide even heating throughout your home. Closing doors and vents disrupt that balance and interfere with the system’s efficiency. Straining the system makes it work harder and leads to higher bills. Furthermore, it could affect your unit’s longevity. This happens because forcing an inefficient system to keep up its performance only leads to more issues.
These can range from inconvenient to dangerous, like carbon monoxide leaks, a problem that’s quite hard to detect without the right equipment. It’s advisable to leave your unused vents and doors open.
Failing To Change Your Furnace Filter
Estimates from the U.S. Energy Information Administration show that 53.1% of energy consumption in U.S. homes was for space heating. Did you also know that dirty air filters can increase these costs?
A dirty air filter not only leads to reduced airflow but also adds strain to your hearing unit. The excess strain means your unit will use more energy to heat your home, leading to higher bills. With time, the strain can also overheat your system, causing a total breakdown.
It’s advisable to clean your air filter every month or replace it every three months with a new one.
Installing an HVAC System That Is Too Small or Too Big
An HVAC unit is designed to ensure that you’re comfortable indoors. Getting a unit that is either too big for your home or too small won’t efficiently heat your home.
A unit that is too big is not only noisy, but uses extra power. Conversely, a system that is too small needs to work harder to heat your home, which translates to a higher bill.
To solve this, ensure that you get a heating unit that is the right size for your house. Consult an HVAC professional to understand your load calculation and get the appropriate size of a heating unit for your home.
Avoiding these common mistakes not only cuts your heating costs, but also improves your comfort and ensures the longevity of your heating unit and you don’t have to keep watching it through nest cameras. Ensure that you schedule routine maintenance and tuneups to spot potential problems and have them fixed. That will save you money on costly repairs moving forward.
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