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It won’t be long before cold weather drives us indoors for the winter, and staying warm without spending a fortune on energy bills is a major priority for most of us. Turning down the thermostat without sacrificing comfort may seem like a pipe dream, but the truth is, there are a number of ways you can lower the cost of heating your home while staying perfectly warm. Here are the top five ways to enjoy cold-weather comfort at a lower price tag.
1. Schedule Preventive Maintenance
Over the course of a heating season, your furnace or heat pump loses efficiency due to normal wear, loosened connections, corrosion, dust buildup, and other issues that end up requiring more energy. An annual tune-up by a qualified HVAC technician is essential for top efficiency, and it will also extend the operating life of your equipment, prevent common but expensive problems with your system, help ensure carbon monoxide safety for gas furnaces, and increase your comfort level at a lower energy cost.
Your technician will perform a comprehensive inspection and tune-up to clean, adjust, and test your system to ensure the highest possible level of efficiency and comfort.
2. Install a Programmable Thermostat
Properly installed and programmed, a programmable thermostat can save you up to $180 on your winter heating bills. Program your thermostat settings based on whether you’re at home, at work, or sleeping to ensure the most efficient use of your heating system. Keep in mind that for every degree you set back your thermostat during an 8-hour period, you’ll save up to 3 percent on your heating costs.
3. Seal and Insulate the Ductwork
Ideally, your ducts should be airtight, but loose joints and connections can result in the loss of up to 40 percent of the conditioned air that moves through them. That means that your system has to work extra hard to compensate for the lost air. Seal your ducts with mastic duct sealant or metal tape. Insulate ducts that span the attic, crawlspace, garage, and other unconditioned areas to prevent the air inside from losing heat.
4. Check Your Air Filter Every Month
A dirty air filter restricts airflow to your system and makes it work harder to keep you warm. It can also cause serious damage to the system and reduce indoor air quality. Inspect your filter every month and swap it out for a new one when it’s dirty.
5. Take Care of Small Tasks That Add Up
There are a few small tasks that can add up to take a big load off your heating system. Reverse the direction of ceiling fan blades to push warm air down, and remove obstructions from in front of return and supply registers to ensure optimum airflow and heat distribution. Close off supply registers to unused rooms, but don’t close off more than 20 percent of your registers, or you’ll restrict the airflow to the system. Keep cold air out of your home and warm air inside by caulking around doors, windows and baseboards.