Save Energy and Lower Heating Bills
Using less energy to heat your home in the winter not only saves money, it helps the environment by reducing your carbon footprint. If you’re renting or simply don’t have the budget to renovate, there are ways to reduce energy consumption and get the most out of your present heating system.
The most important maintenance tip for any furnace is to change the air filters on a regular basis. When a filter becomes clogged with dust, dirt and debris, your system has to work harder to pull in air, requiring more energy to produce the same amount of heat. Every house is different, so it is difficult to say exactly how often filters should be replaced, but monthly is usually sufficient. The lifespan of an air filter is determined by how often the system runs and the efficiency of the filters.
Installing a programmable thermostat also helps conserve energy and keeps you comfortable by automatically adjusting the home’s temperature based on the time of day. Set your thermostat to raise the temperature when it’s needed, like in the morning or before bed, and lower the temperature when you’re out of the house at work. Don’t worry about how much it costs to heat your home back up after it cools down during the day. Studies have shown that the longer you keep your home at a lower temperature during the winter months, the more you’ll save on energy bills.
Even when you’re at home, consider wearing a sweater or using a blanket instead of turning up the heat. You can reduce your heating costs by 5 percent just by lowering your thermostat a couple degrees for eight hours. Similarly, turning down the hot water heater setting is another easy way to save energy during the winter months. Keeping the thermostat at 120 degrees instead of 130 to 140 degrees will mark a big improvement in the heating bill.
To ensure that your furnace is running as efficiently as possible, have it inspected by a professional once every year. In addition to inspecting your system’s wiring, safety devices, heat exchanger, gas valve, controls and circuit boards, a technician will check the system’s indoor blower motor. A motor that is using more power than it should indicates that it may soon fail. Catching this type of problem early saves power and could also prevent a costly repair bill in the future.
Another big tip is to have the attic insulation inspected. Most homeowners don’t think about it or even go into their attics, but this insulation plays a huge role in keeping the home protected from outdoor temperatures and prevents colder air indoors from escaping. Maintaining proper attic insulation and proper venting are two of the most efficient and least expensive ways to conserve energy.
Lance Fernandez is the general manager of Yes! Air Conditioning and Plumbing, in Las Vegas. For more information, visit TheYesManCan.com.