No matter how much effort you put into maintaining your heating system so that it achieves maximum energy efficiency, you can quickly undo your good work if you are making these common heating mistakes. There is no point in saving money in one place only to spend it in another. Let’s look at some ways you may be costing yourself additional savings – for example, knowing how to clean your air conditioner filter can save you a huge amount of money in the long run by preventing breakdowns and malfunctions.
1. Heating Your Empty House
2. Window Gaps
A loss of heat or excessive entrance of cold air through windows can greatly increase your energy bill. You might get a more secure seal by simply locking your windows. If you are still experiencing the problem, you might consider doing some winter-proofing or window replacement. Double-pane windows can keep more heat in and more cold air out but you can also achieve some success by sealing up windows during the winter months.
3. Thermostat Surfing
One mistake many homeowners make is trying to heat their homes faster by turning the thermostat to a much higher temperature than necessary. This doesn’t work. Turning the thermostat up excessively doesn’t make it heat your home faster. It only makes your furnace run longer, putting extra wear and tear on it that can result in repairs being needed and consuming more energy that will drive up your utility bill.
4. Poor Air Filter Maintenance
A dirty air filter will cause your furnace to work much harder than should be necessary to keep you warm and this, in turn, uses more energy. Make sure you are changing your air filter regularly. It is recommended that you replace your air filter at least every three months, but during the coldest months when you are using your heating considerably more, you may need to increase this to monthly.
5. Failing to Correct Air Leaks
You may be losing a considerable amount of heat through air leaks in your home. You might also be letting in a great deal of cold air through drafts. If you don’t correct this problem, you could be losing a significant amount of money to added energy costs. Be sure to check all of your entry and exit points in your home for drafts and leaks. Seal up cracks along joints and openings around pipes with an appropriate sealant. Check all doors and windows. You can use draft extruders to shut out points where air can escape or enter. Don’t forget to check the basement and attic areas of your home. Unfinished areas of your home can be prime locations for air leaks.
6. Closing Vents
If you have areas of your home that you don’t use or that you prefer to keep cooler, you should never close the vents. Your heating system is designed to heat your entire house. When you close vents, you are creating a disruption that will through your air balance off and cause your heating to work more inefficiently. If you’ve had air balancing done by your HVAC company, closing off vents will negate their efforts, meaning you’ve wasted money on a service that is no longer of any value to you.
7. Skipping Regular Maintenance
Regular maintenance will keep your furnace running smoothly and energy efficiently, reducing your cost of operation. If you are skipping your yearly or semi-yearly cleaning and inspection, your system will begin to show signs of reduced energy efficiency and require an increasing number of repairs. What might have been a minor issue if addressed quickly can turn into a major problem that is expensive to repair if it goes undetected.
8. Lowering the Thermostat
While it can be a great cost-saving measure to reduce the temperature in your home while you are away, be careful not to turn the thermostat down too much or off altogether. Doing so will only make your system work much harder when it’s time to bring the temperature back up for your return home. This will end up costing you more money instead of giving you the savings you intended. Plus, if you have pets at home while you’re at work, you’ll want to keep them comfortable.
9. Using the Fireplace
Few people would argue that there is anything more satisfying than sitting by a roaring fire on a cold winter’s evening but if you are turning down your thermostat and using the fireplace to offset the loss in heat, you are making a costly mistake. The heated air created by your furnace will exit the chimney instead of staying inside your home. Not only that, but you’ll also be allowing air to enter through the flue, as well. While the fire may be nice, you will pay for the pleasure with increased utility costs.
10. Exhausting Habits
Many people will leave exhaust fans on to run well past how long they are needed. If you are done using your exhaust fan to reduce moisture or clear odors in your bathroom or kitchen, turn it off. Warm air will be sucked out of the house for as long as you leave it running, costing you money.
These are some of the main ways people cut into the savings they might otherwise see while heating their home over the winter months. Knowing is half the battle, as they say. Now that you are aware of these mistakes, you can take measures to correct those things that are costing you extra money.