Keeping your home warm and cozy in the winter months is necessary for your family’s comfort and well being. Keeping your home warm in winter can be an extremely expensive undertaking and can quickly drain your household budget. While you cannot stop the onset of winter and the need to keep your home warm, there are some things you can do to save money on heating costs. When you understand how easy it can be to save on heating costs, you can take action to put these ideas into practice and keep your home warm and while you keep your wallet full.
One easy way to save money on heating costs is to place draft blockers at the bottom of every door. These inexpensive draft guards will help keep your heat inside your home preventing its escape through small, unsealed spaces in between the door and the floor. Draft blocking curtain are another quick and easy way to keep heat in and block out cold drafts that zap heat and eat up your heating budget.
Another simple way to save money on home heating costs is to keep the heat set a couple of degrees cooler than you normally would in winter and wear sweaters and socks to keep warm. Keep blankets and throws on your couch and chairs to snuggle under and help you stay warm without turning up the thermostat. While these tips are low tech, they are time tested ways to stay warm on a budget.
Of course, you should have a professional HVAC service technician do a complete check up on your heating system. Annual heater maintenance can help you keep your heating system running smoothly and prolong the life of your system. Having a heating service professional check and clean your system can help you avoid costly repairs and keep your system running efficiently saving you money. If your system needs cost prohibitive repairs or is an out of date energy sucker, your HVAC professional can help you with new heater installation. Having a new heater installed can maximize your home’s efficiency and save you hundreds of dollars over old, out dated systems that do not meet today’s energy saving standards.
Staying warm in the winter without draining your bank account can be done by making some thoughtful choices and doing a few simple things to winterize your home. From low tech options such as door draft blockers and draft blocking curtains to wearing socks and sweaters and using blankets, there are lots of low to no cost options that can help you save money on heating costs. For a higher tech solution, call on help from professional HVAC service technicians to make sure your heating system is up to date, clean, efficient and energy saving to further stretch your household budget and save yourself money while you stay warm this winter.
The US government forecast shows that most US households will have to dig deeper into their pockets because of higher heating expenditures this winter. Whether you use oil, electricity or gas for heating, you are to be ready for the worst, according to the US Energy Information Administration. The state department of meteorology believes that this winter shall witness relatively lower temperatures compared to last winter, the effect that most people will need to use more fuel, electricity or gas to heat their homes.
The Department of Energy projects that higher than 90% of the US households will incur higher heating expenses. However, the US Energy Information Administration was quick to note that the actual cost per household will largely depend on the energy efficiency of the heating equipment. Therefore, homes should make sure to replace their heating appliances in order to survive the expected high heating costs this winter, according to EIA experts at http://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.cfm?id=13311.
Further, the report notes about one-half of U.S. households use natural gas. After two years of historically low gas prices, gas users will need to spend more compared to the earlier years since their heating expenses are projected to rise to about $679 for the season running through March. This will be 4% higher than the last winter season, but 13% higher than 2 years ago. According to the U.S. Census Bureau Report of 2012 at http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/, 38% of the households rely on electricity to run their heating equipment.
In its recent Short-term Energy Outlook, the Energy Department forecast that this winter heating oil cost will average $2,046, representing a drop by about $ 46 from last winter. This is due to a projected decrease in the average consumption and a relative decrease in the oil prices by 5%.
The Energy Information Administration noted that heating costs will rely largely on the prevailing local weather conditions, the size of the energy market, thermostat settings, and the size of the heating equipment. Despite that the weather forecasts are closer to last winter, the authorities noted that even a slight change would have an overwhelming impact on the expenditure per an average household. To experienced households, more efficient heater means lower energy costs.
US households can leverage the efficiency of new and highly efficient heating equipment to neutralize the effects of rising oil, gas, and changes in energy prices, as well as the projected drop in temperatures beginning this October through March.
The average expenditure will vary from one region to another, for example, the Northeast is expected to be relatively colder, and the West is expected to be relatively warmer than last year. Many other aspects could change the dynamics of heating costs, including disparities in fuel production, the type of fuel used, and variations in pipeline capacity. On average, importance of having a high efficiency heating system will need to be emphasized if households are to reduce their annual heating costs, especially beginning this winter.
As summer gives way to fall and evening temperatures start to get cooler, homeowners thoughts need to turn to getting their residential furnaces ready for the colder nights of autumn and the even colder nights of the winter months that will follow. The same thinking also applies to businesses.
Many home and business owners fail to understand that fall maintenance heating system checks are important to maintaining the efficient heating of a building. In fact, most emergency winter service calls can be from lack of maintenance – as many as 75% according to experts. A professional heating system inspection typically costs less that $100 per furnace and is definitely less expensive that an emergency repair on a cold day.
A thorough preseason heater check involves several steps and includes:
- Checking all heating system connections and voltages.
- Lubricating all moving parts such as motor bearings.
- Inspecting any blower pulleys and belts for wear and tear; replacing worn belts.
- Inspecting and clearing the condensation drain.
- Completely furnace cleaning areas where soot can collect.
- Testing the thermostat to ensure that the heater comes on and shuts off at the set temperature.
- Inspecting fuel lines, burners and heat exchanger for defects that can reduce efficiency and emit carbon monoxide.
- Replace the furnace filter.
- Adjusting the fuel input so that the flame color is blue.
There are also maintenance steps that business and home owners can take to improve system performance and extend the life of a heating system. The air filter should be replaced at least once every three months, depending on the type of filter and the amount of material that is collected in the filter. Heavy concentrations of pet hair and dander, dust and other debris indicate that the filter should be replaced one a month. It is equally important to choose a filter that will not put too much strain on the heater and reduce efficient heating.
Another way to improve a furnace’s efficiency is to invest in installing a programmable thermostat. These thermostats dramatically improve the accuracy with which a furnace senses and responds to temperature settings. Programmable thermostats can be purchased for under $100.
It is critically important to have carbon monoxide alarms strategically installed in a home or business. This odorless gas can cause serious physical side effects – and even death.
Gas and oil bills run high enough during the winter. Maintenance can reduce furnace repairs and improve a heating system’s performance by taking the time to have it inspected and brought up to speed before the cold winds blow.