This winter, many American households will see an increase in their utility bills. The winter months bring colder temperatures and we are forced to stay indoors for longer periods of time. For some months of the winter, we run the furnace for many hours per day. These household efficiency tips will help you control your utility expenses.
Get a full HVAC inspection before it gets too cold
Getting a full inspection for your heating and air unit can correct any problems ahead of time. You can also professionally clean out your HVAC unit, allowing it to work more efficiently. Even minimal boiler repairs that are left unrepaired can significantly increase your household utility costs. In addition to reducing your household costs, you will also decrease the chances that your HVAC unit will stop working in the middle of the winter. According to some HVAC experts, up to 75% of no heat calls in the winter are related to a lack of maintenance.
Request household efficiency reports from your energy provider
It can be difficult to know how well or how poorly you are doing in terms of energy efficiency. Most energy providers send you a basic report if anything. Without anything to compare these numbers to, you might not know if you are overpaying or underpaying for your utilities. Today, many energy providers have the ability to provide you with a report that compares your energy usage to other in the area, with a similar size of the house. You can compare your heating and air conditioning use to the general neighborhood. This can give you valuable insight into if you need to make any useful changes.
Reduce your energy usage
It can also be helpful to be more cognizant of your energy usage and make it a goal to reduce it. While heating and air is a necessity in many states, you can still reduce the amount that you use. Purchasing a programmable thermostat, for example, can help you program temperatures throughout the day. You can set the temperature a couple of degrees lower during the night when everyone is sleeping anyway. You can also reduce your usage while everyone is away at work. Lowering your thermostat even a degree or two at different points of the day can save you significantly on your heating and air costs. For every two degrees you lower your thermostat, you can save approximately 5% on your heating costs.
Upgrade your furnace and air conditioning unit
It can be difficult to upgrade your HVAC system while it is still working. It might seem like an unnecessary cost. However, many of the older HVAC units use a significant amount of increased energy. The HVAC systems that are designed today are designed specifically with efficiency in mind. Furnaces with AFUE ratings between 90% and 95% are considered high efficiency furnaces. To achieve an optimal energy efficient home, you will have to upgrade your HVAC unit.
Keep up with repairs and maintenance
Keeping up with AC repairs and furnace installation repairs is also important in terms of energy efficiency. When the HVAC unit has a mechanical problem, it emits more energy to work properly. This increase in energy translates to an increase in utility bills. If you notice a sudden increase in your utility bills, it could be due to a needed repair.
Temperatures around the country have already begun to drop. Before we know it, it will be time to turn on our furnaces. To avoid an increase in energy bills, make sure you are keeping up with repairs, know when to upgrade your HVAC unit, and invest in a programmable thermostat. Pay attention to household and community energy usage reports. These reports can help you better understand your energy usage.