Everybody is looking for ways to cut down costs and save money. You might not have realized one place where you could reduce your cost of living is with your heating system.
We don’t mean you have to shut off the heater for long stretches of time so you and your family need to bundle up in full parkas when you’re indoors. There are some simple ways you can lower the amount of work your heating system does without making major sacrifices in comfort.
Below are a few of our best tips for less expensive heating this winter (and every winter to come).
Schedule Routine Maintenance for Your Heater
This is the most important step in ensuring your heating system doesn’t become an energy-waster. Each year your heating system goes without a professional tune-up and inspection will result in an approximately 5% decline in efficiency and a subsequent increase to run it. Maintenance has numerous other benefits for your heater, so don’t miss this important service this year.
Regularly Change the Furnace Filter
This is the number one way people spend more to heat their home than necessary, and it’s extremely easy to avoid. The furnace filter will clog up after one to three months. Unless it’s changed, it will choke off airflow into the furnace and cause it to drain extra power. A clogged filter can cause many other problems, so make sure you get in the habit of making these regular filter changes.
Know the Energy-Saving Settings for Your Thermostat
People often treat their thermostat as a “heat throttle,” pushing it higher when they feel cold and turning it down when they get too hot. This wastes power and forces the heating system to turn on and off too frequently.
Remember: high thermostat settings don’t make the heater produce heat faster; it only keeps the heater running longer. To save energy, we recommend keeping the thermostat set steadily at 20°C during the day when people are home, and then lowering it to 17°C at night or when the house is empty. These settings can help you save up to 10% of your heating bills.
Use the Sun’s Heat Whenever Possible
We don’t mean installing a solar energy power system (although this is an excellent way to save energy year-round). We’re referring to using the radiant power of sunlight coming through your windows. Open the curtains on south-facing windows during the day to bring in the natural radiant heat of the sunlight—and then close them in the evening to prevent heat loss through the windows.
Rotate Ceiling Fans Backwards
If you have ceiling fans, you may not have realized they can help in cold weather. On the base of the fans you’ll find a toggle switch that will reverse the rotation of the fan blades. When the blades rotate clockwise, they pull air from the top of the room and push it downwards. This helps to quickly move the warm air that rises to the top of a room and distribute it to people below.