During the colder months of the year, it’s normal to see an increase in your utility bills. However, just because you’re using your heater more doesn’t mean your heating costs need to be sky-high.
Below, we’ve identified some typical “bad heating habits” that increase monthly bills. Make sure you avoid these mistakes this winter to keep your energy costs low!
1. Keeping the Same Air Filter In Too Long
This is the most common heating mistake our technicians see. Not only does this bad habit lead to higher energy costs, but it also takes a toll on your system.
Imagine trying to run a mile while breathing through a dirty rag, and you’ll have some idea of what your heater goes through when its filter is clogged with dust. If you leave a dirty filter in long enough, it can even cause your HVAC system to overheat and stop working. Make sure to change the filter frequently so that it’s never blocking airflow into your heater.
2. Closing Vents
Some online articles recommend closing air vents in unused rooms to save money. While this might seem like a good idea in theory, it doesn’t work when you consider how your HVAC system operates. If you close a vent in a guest room to try to redirect that warm air elsewhere, your heater will still try to blow air toward that room regardless.
So what happens to all that air blowing toward the blocked vent? It creates a pressure imbalance in your HVAC system because it’s not being allowed to cycle out as much air as it’s taking in. This can make air leaks or worsen existing ones. It also puts wear and tear on your system and increases your energy bill. If you would like the ability to control the temperature in specific areas of your home, talk to your HVAC contractor about installing a zone control system.
3. Skipping Routine Maintenance
Whether you own a furnace or heat pump, the equipment will wear out faster and perform less efficiently if you neglect routine maintenance. To get an idea of the performance difference, consider this: the Department of Energy reports that a severely neglected heat pump will consume 10% to 25% more energy than a well-maintained one.
During a maintenance appointment, your technician will clean, tighten, and lubricate the equipment and check for safety hazards specific to the unit. For instance, a gas furnace should be inspected for gas leaks and ignition issues.
4. Shutting Off the System Completely When Not At Home
Even if you’re not going to be at home during cold weather, it’s still best to let your heater turn on every so often, rather than shutting it off entirely. If you turn your heater completely off, your home will get frigid, and it will take your heater much longer to overcome that drastic temperature drop. Letting your heater turn on every so often makes your home’s temperature easier for your furnace to maintain while using less energy.
5. Setting the Thermostat Extremely High
If you’ve just come in from the cold, you might be tempted to crank up your thermostat to warm up faster. This is a habit that won’t pay off. If you own a single-stage furnace, it can only run at one speed, so it can’t heat you home any faster, no matter what the thermostat says. If you own a two-stage or variable speed furnace, you’re asking it to work longer than necessary to make your home comfortable. Often enough, people forget that they’ve set the thermostat so high, allowing their energy usage to rise in the meantime.