There’s nothing quite as annoying as an unexpected, high utility bill. It’s why most homeowners are looking for ways to make their homes more efficient. You can cut your winter heating costs by both improving the efficiency of your HVAC systems and your home. In this article, we’ll review the 5 best ways you can lower your heating bills and use your furnace or heat pump less. Here’s what you need to know:
#1. Schedule a heating tune-up
Start with a seasonal heating tune-up. Annual maintenance is critically important to your heating system. Not only does a professional tune-up and inspection help keep the system running right, but it also makes it run more efficiently. During your maintenance appointment from our team here at ABC Cooling, Heating & Plumbing, we will thoroughly inspect and clean the system, adjusting comfort settings as needed to ensure that its running at its maximum efficiency.
#2. Get a home energy audit this winter
Unfortunately, many homes here in the Bay Area were not originally built with energy-efficiency in mind. As a result, much of the cooling and heating in your home ends up being wasted, most of it as it escapes through the attic, walls, or through gaps underneath doors and windows. The good news is that you can cut down on this waste by scheduling a home energy audit with our team.
During your professional energy audit, one of our technicians will measure different areas of your home for energy waste. They will also inspect your ducts, thermostat, and more. At the end of this process, we provide you with a detailed report on how your home is using—and not using—the cooling and heating created by your HVAC systems. You can then use this report to start making your home more efficient, which might include some of the steps to follow.
#3. Upgrade to a smart thermostat
Smart thermostats—known by some as “programmable thermostats”—are an awesome step forward that is making it easier for homeowners to track and reduce cooling and heating waste. These thermostats automate temperature changes in the home depending on the time of day or whether or not someone is home. This eliminates the need for you, the homeowner, to remember to turn the thermostat down and up at different points during the day. All told, a smart thermostat helps the average homeowner reduce their cooling and heating costs by 10%. That may not sound like much, but these year-round savings can really add up.
Before you purchase a smart thermostat, be sure to check with your utility company here in the Bay Area to see if they offer any special incentives, rebates, or programs with your purchase. Some utility companies have special flex utility pricing for homeowners who join a peak hours use-reduction program.
#4. Add attic insulation
Many homes here in California do not have sufficient attic insulation, which is one of the leading causes of energy waste. As heated air travels through the ducts of your home in the winter, it begins to rise and escape from the ductwork. Without insulation to trap it inside of the house, that heat rises straight through the attic and roof, which means your heater has to work even harder to generate enough heat to change the temperature of your living room, kitchen, or bedroom.
By adding more insulation, you can prevent this energy loss. Be sure to check out this guide to get an idea of what type and amount of insulation you need. Here in California, we don’t need as much insulation as in colder climates.
#5. Reduce your use to cut your winter heating costs
So far, we’ve discussed how to increase the efficiency of your home and cut down on waste. However, you can and should also make an attempt to reduce your heater use. Here are some ideas to get started:
- Lower the temperature: For every degree you set the thermostat lower, you can reduce your heating bill by 1-3%.
- Sleep through it: When you’re under blankets and asleep is the perfect time to have your smart thermostat set the temperature a bit lower.
- Increase the humidity: Our winters here in the Bay Area can be dry, and dry air retains heat worse than humid air. Use a humidifier to balance the air inside your home, and you’ll feel more comfortable at lower temperatures.
For even more tips that will help you lower your winter heating costs, call us. At ABC Cooling, Heating & Plumbing, we provide expert heating maintenance, repair, and system replacement services throughout Hayward and the Bay Area. Our professional technicians can help you find ways to lower your electric bill and save money in your home.