With winter in full force, it's important to keep on top of your HVAC maintenance so that you aren't miserable and without heat. Here are some tips to help you keep your heater working efficiently so that your utility bills don't skyrocket.
Contact an HVAC Service for a Check-Up if You Haven't Already
While it's best to have your system serviced in the spring or fall before the hot and cold months, it's better late than never. It's vital that you have an HVAC professional service your system to make sure that it's safe to run your heater at full force.
Furthermore, if you haven't had your HVAC unit serviced, then it could break down at a very bad time—like a snowstorm—which could be very dangerous for you and your family if you are snowed in. Having your system serviced not only benefits your comfort level, but your energy bill as well. An HVAC services provider can make your system more efficient and lower your bills by doing things like
- Changing the filters
- Inspecting the heating elements and heat exchanger
- Checking out the flue system for proper attachments
- Lubricating motors and other parts
- Measuring the house's temperature and adjusting the needed airflow
Not only will your energy bills improve, but you'll be protecting a big investment: your plumbing. Since water expands when it freezes, it's important to keep your pipes well insulated and your water running. Your HVAC system can play a big part in keeping your pipes the right temperature during the day and night.
Open the Curtains During the Day and Close Them At Night
After your HVAC system is serviced, you can do little things to lower your heating bills. During the day, open all of your curtains and blinds to let sunshine in. Even though it is cold outside, the sun's rays can do a great job at keeping your house warm. In the evening, be sure to close all of the curtains back up. Glass windows aren't very good at keeping heat in, so the curtains will help to insulate your house and keep warm air in. In fact, as much as 30% of your heating is lost through small cracks around the windows. So using curtains and upgrading old windows to double-paned ones could lower your bills
Use Your Ceiling Fans to Move Warm Air
It seems counterintuitive to use fans during the winter, but ceiling fans are a great way to circulate warm air. Since heat rises, ceiling fans can help push this warm air back down. Many ceiling fans have a winter setting, so check your owner's manual. This setting will reverse the direction of your fan so that it will suck warm air in and push it back down. Using your ceiling fans can help you keep your energy bills lower since you won't have to crank up the heat as much.
Open Those Closed Vents Back Up
A common mistake many homeowners make is closing up vents in little-used rooms. The thought is that the HVAC system will redirect its warm airflow to other rooms. However, shutting a vent doesn't stop air flow in that area. Instead, the system may work harder trying to blow air into that area. If there are any leaks or small cracks, then this added air pressure could damage your system. Some systems will actually ramp up their power to overcome this pressure, which means that there will be higher utility bills. If you only want your heating to go to certain rooms, talk with your HVAC servicer. He or she can adjust the furnace and close off the appropriate ducts.
If you follow all of these tips, your house should stay warm all winter long; and, you will avoid hefty energy bills!