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10 Ways to Lower Heating Bills

10 Ways to Lower Heating Bills

Even in Los Angeles, we feel the chill of winter. And with that chill of winter, comes the yearly increase in energy.

Why is it that every year we see a spike in our utility bills in December? Short answer, your furnace uses a huge chunk of energy. We’ve had a lot of people ask and now we’re finally sharing 10 ways to lower heating bills.

JW’s Favorite Ways to Lower Heating Bills:

1. Seal Air Leaks

No matter the size of the crack, it makes a difference. Especially on your energy bill. We’re talking about cracks and gaps in your windows, light fixtures, and doors.

Why is this important? Simple, because leaks in windows, doors, and light fixtures account for 25% to 40% of your heating bill.

There’s good news though! All it takes is a windy day and piece of paper to find the air leaks in your home.

Simply wait for a windy day and hold a piece of paper up to your light fixtures and closed windows. If the paper shakes with the wind, you have an air leak. It’s easy to patch up an air leak, caulk the crack or reapply weatherstripping.

For the door, all you need is a visual inspection. Check the weather stripping around the door and look for cracks in the door frame. Just repair as needed.

2. Open the Curtains

Well tell you to shut your curtains and blinds during the summer so your house doesn’t become an oven. However, during the winter, the opposite is true.

opening the windows are a great way to Lower Heating Bills.

We suggest opening the curtains and blinds during the day to harness as much natural heat as possible. Then close everything up as the sun starts to go down.

By turning your home into an oven, you’re naturally raising the temperature. This makes it so your furnace doesn’t have to work as hard and helps save on energy bills.

3. Dress for the Season

Now that it’s finally sweater weather, you can find that hoodie that’s been buried in the back of your closet. A great way to stay warm is to actually dress for the season.

Dress for the season to Lower Heating Bills.

This means it’s time to pull out joggers, leggings, sweaters, and any other winter accessories you may have. Layering helps because you can always take something off when you’re warm.

Don’t forget, this applies to your home as well. Flannel sheets are wonderful this time of year. Remember to keep a blanket on the couch and cover any hardwood with a rug.

4. Check and Change Your Air Filter

Hands down, one of the best things you can do for your wallet and your HVAC system is to regularly check and change your air filter.

This is because your air filter plays two very important roles. It protects your HVAC system and your health. Air filters trap dust, dander, allergens, and other airborne contaminates. This keeps dust from settling in your HVAC unit, which could potentially clog and damage parts. It also keeps your indoor air clean and healthy.

Over time and with use, an air filter can get full. Depending on the strength and materials, air filters should be checked and changed at least twice per year. Thinner filters, like the green fiberglass ones, need to be changed almost once per month.

An overfull filter can also be a drain on your wallet. Clean filters allow air to pass freely through them without resistance. A clogged air filter means your HVAC system is pushing harder to produce and distribute air. This extra push makes your system work overtime which adds to bills and increases your chances for early repairs.

5. Close the Doors

When we say close the door, we mean the actual doors, not the air vents. We’ve heard from more than a few people they believe closing the vents in an unused room helps reduce heating bills.

The truth is that’s incorrect. Closing the vents can do more harm than good, and it won’t save you any money either. Your furnace is programmed to create warm air for the entire home, including those unused rooms.

No matter if a vent is open or closed, the HVAC system will still produce air for that zone. The way to reduce your heating bill is to simply close the doors. When a room is warm—and stays warm—the HVAC system receives a signal telling it not to create more air.

This allows your system to slow down and take a breather. Which will save money on your energy bills.

If you do close the vents while your system is running, it could cause some damage. The HVAC system still generates heated air for the room, but with the vents closed, that air has nowhere to go. Instead, the excess air can greatly increase the pressure in your HVAC system and even make a hole or perforation in your ductwork.

6. Check Your Insulation

Insulation is a crucial part of any home comfort. It acts as a fiberglass blanket for your home. During the summer insulation helps seal any cool air in your home, and when winter hits, it helps keep your home nice and toasty.

Under the right conditions, insulation can last for an incredibly long time. The hard part is getting to those perfect conditions.

Insulation’s biggest enemy is moisture, which can be found in almost everyone’s attic. Moisture can break down insulation and lead to mold growth. Homes that see a lot of humidity, like those near the ocean, will need their insulation checked more often.

While conducting a furnace tune-up, a JW HVAC technician will check your insulation and let you know if it needs to be replaced.

7. Use the Oven

Our favorite way to heat the home is by cooking or baking something delicious. It’s also fun if you can get the whole family in on it as well.

Running your stove or oven for any period of time will sent heat into the atmosphere of your home. If you used the oven, just remember to make sure everything is fully turned off and then crack the oven door a bit. This sends all the heat from your oven into your home.

8. Turn Down the Thermostat

Bear with us when we talk about turning down the thermostat. One of the best ways to shave a bit off your heating bill is to keep the thermostat at 68 degrees Fahrenheit.

Though 68 seems like a low number, it is enough to keep your home nice and warm. It’s important to remember that a furnace can only heat a specific amount of air at a time.

What this means is that no matter what temperature you set the thermostat to, your home will always take the same amount of time to heat. Even when you crank up the thermostat, your home isn’t warming faster.

9. Don’t Forget Your Fireplace

We’re always a bit jealous at homeowners who have a fireplace. There’s nothing better than sitting by the fire on a chilly night. The important thing is to not forget your damper.

Leaving the damper open after a nice fire can send money literally flying out the chimney. A decent amount of heat treated air can be lost through the chimney. So, it’s important to remember to open the damper before a fire and close it after everything is extinguished.

10. Schedule a Furnace Tune-Up

At JW, we recommend two tune-ups per year. Once in the spring before AC season and once in the fall before it’s time to turn on the furnace.

Scheduling routine maintenance is the best way to elongate the life of your system and keep everything energy efficient. During a furnace tune-up, a JW technician will inspect and clean every part of your HVAC system. They will catch any small problems before they become expensive headaches.

To schedule your own tune-up, call the number at the top of the screen or click here to schedule an appointment online.