It costs more money and uses more energy to heat and cool your home than any other system in your home. Typically, 44% to 50% of your utility bills pays for heating and cooling your home.
Regardless of the kind of heating system you have in your house, you can save money and increase comfort by properly maintaining and upgrading your equipment. Keep in mind that an energy efficient furnace alone will not have as great an impact on your energy bills as using an approach that involves the entire house. If you combine proper equipment maintenance and upgrades with appropriate insulation, weatherization and thermostat settings, you can reduce your energy bills by 50%.
No-Cost Heating Tips
These heating tips won’t cost you a cent!
- Set your thermostat as low as comfortably possible.
- Clean or replace furnace filters each month.
- Clean baseboard heaters, warm-air registers, and radiators as needed; always make sure they’re not blocked by drapes, carpeting, or furniture.
- Use kitchen, bath and other ventilating fans wisely. These fans can pull out a houseful of warmed air in just one hour. Remember to turn these fans off as soon as they have done the job.
- Take advantage of “solar power.” During the colder months, open blinds, draperies and shades on south-facing windows to allow the sun’s friendly rays to warm your home. You’ll be surprised at how effective this is. Close them at night to reduce the chill and keep warm air inside.
- Close any unoccupied rooms that are isolated from the rest of the house, such as corner rooms, and turn down the thermostat or turn off the heating for that room or zone altogether. However, if it adversely affects the rest of your system, do not turn the heating off.
Here are a few steps you can take to substantially improve your home’s energy efficiency.
- Take a Holistic Approach
- Conduct a Home Energy Audit
- Use a Digital Thermostat
- Have Air Ducts Cleaned
- Check Door & Window Seals
- Check for Duct Leaks
- Get a Heating System Tune-up
- Replace Inefficient Systems
- Add a Heat Pump
Holistic Approaches to Total Home Energy Conservation
To achieve maximum home comfort and energy savings, we recommend that you step back and look at the big picture of energy consumption in your home. The fact is, your total home comfort and efficiency is the product of many systems: heating, cooling, lighting & electrical, plumbing and possibly others working together.
The interplay between these systems, combined with the size, age, physical features and location of your home, and even your lifestyle, that combine to produce the total energy efficiency of your home. Changing or upgrading one system, without considering the other factors will usually result in some improvement but may not deliver the maximum possible benefit.
If you’re building a new home, or considering a major remodel or system upgrade, consider an Integrated Systems approach. It may cost a little more now but will undoubtedly save you a bundle over time. Our skilled engineers and technicians will look at the big picture when designing a solution for your home.
Conduct a Home Energy Audit
The place to begin when evaluating your home’s overall energy efficiency and deciding how to reduce consumption and costs is with a Home Energy Audit. This takes into consideration much more than just your heating and cooling systems and will give you a benchmark from which to make decisions and measure your energy saving progress.
Some factors an energy audit should take into consideration:
- Insulation in walls, floors, and attic.
- Vapor Barriers in walls
- Quality of Windows — Single or double pane
- Heat loss around doors and windows
- Quality of insulation in doors
- Integrity of ductwork — any leaks?
- Cleanliness of ductwork
- Use of “passive” solar energy
- Use of drapes and other window coverings to prevent heat loss
- Efficiency of heating and cooling systems — condition of filters, etc.
Check the Seals Around Doors and Windows
Here’s an obvious one. When was the last time you checked the caulk around your windows? Especially if you live in an older home, this material can harden and crack with age. Periodically it needs to be repaired or chipped away and replaced. This is an easy maintenance task that can make a significant difference in the comfort of your home.
Exterior Doors should fit snugly and have appropriate weather stripping to avoid heat loss and prevent drafts. A storm door can also help prevent heat loss and keep you cozy in winter and cool in the summer months.
Make Sure There Are No Leaks in Your Air Ducts
It may surprise you to learn that a single leak in an air duct can cost you up to 25% of the efficiency of your furnace or air conditioning system. Over time, ductwork can shift and settle in a home. Seals between lengths of ducting can become cracked or broken and leaks can develop. Don’t let these silent burglars rob you blind! Especially if your home is over 10 years old, a simple duct inspection and repair is a quick and affordable way to make sure your system is intact and operating at peak efficiency.
Have Your Heating System Tuned-Up Regularly
Regular system maintenance is the single most important thing you can do to avoid major furnace problems and repairs. But beware: many service companies settle for a simple clean & check. It may be cheap, and it might make you feel better, but this kind of service is often too superficial to spot many serious flaws that could cause you trouble down the road. Insist on an in-depth system tune-up at least once each year.
Consider Replacing Your Older Equipment with High-Efficiency Systems
If your system is more than ten years old, you can SAVE A LOT OF MONEY by replacing your gas or oil burning furnace, boiler, or heat pump with a modern, high-efficiency unit. With the skyrocketing cost of fuel and electricity, the savings in your utility bills could literally offset the cost of the new equipment. And utilities and/or government entities sometimes offer rebates and other incentives to switch to more efficient systems.
A Heat Pump Can Augment Your Energy Savings
Since when can you add more equipment and save money as a result? If you use electricity to heat your home, a heat pump system may do just that. Heat pumps are more efficient than conventional heating systems. In fact, of all the conventional heating systems available today, heat pumps alone can return more energy than they consume. This is possible because heat pumps use energy to transfer heat and intensify it, rather than to create it. A heat pump is basically a refrigerator. It uses energy only to run the fan and the compressor. A heat pump can trim the amount of electricity you use for heating as much as 30% to 40%.
Heat pumps are the most efficient form of electric heating in moderate climates like New York; they return three times the amount of electrical energy they consume in amount of heat they provide. There are 3 types of heat pumps: 1) air-to-air, 2) water source and 3) ground source. In a nutshell, they collect heat from the air, water or ground outside your home and concentrate it for use inside.
Not only can heat pumps save you money while heating your home, but they can also double as central air conditioners. They can cool your home by effectively collecting the heat inside your house and pumping it outside.
For more information about your energy-saving options, call us 845-237-2291.