As winter sets in, you expect to pay for staving off the cold. Usually this means lower electric bills and higher gas bills as the air conditioner goes off and the furnace gets to work. But as you look over your month’s statement, you can’t believe what you’re paying to heat your home—and it’s not even as if you’re living in a three-bedroom, two-bathroom sauna. You didn’t budget for this.
So what is all this heat you’re paying for, and where is it going? The culprit could be poor insulation. It could be a furnace that needs to work smarter and not harder. It could even be appliances such as your clothes dryer. But if you plan to be in your home through many more of these winters, you’ll want to take care of your heat efficiency issues before you spend years and years paying for heat you don’t feel. Here are some reasons why your heating bill is high and what you can do to bring it down.
You’re Not Keeping the Warm Air In
Not unlike people, homes need to breathe. But as houses settle and age, they let in more outdoor air than they need to, resulting in chills and drafts that make your furnace work overtime. Most often, your windows let in the cold winter air that infiltrates the house. Devoting some time and elbow grease to caulking and weather-stripping your windows, along with installing interior storm windows if necessary, can eliminate much of the draftiness that elevates your heating bills.
The Furnace Needs a New Filter
Dirt, dust, pet hair—you name it. HVAC systems pick up a lot of schmutz. And as all that accumulates, it exhausts your filter’s capacity and overworks your furnace. Keeping your filter fresh keeps your furnace working efficiently, and that keeps bills down. For most households, the MERV 4 EZ Flow air filters get the job done, and affordably so.
Heating Through the Night
Once you’re all snuggled up in bed, especially under that heavy comforter you break out just for the season, you don’t need the furnace at full blast. But when it’s a work night and you have a lot to sort out the next morning, you probably hit the hay before you fiddle with the thermostat. You can program a smart thermostat to dial down the heat at night when you don’t need it and put it back to work when you do. And if you’re not working from home these days and the house is empty, you can dial it down a few degrees during those hours, too.
A surprising reason why your heating bill is high could be your gas dryer. As you bundle up, you wear more clothes and subsequently launder more, too. Try running on low cycles and air-drying what you can, even in winter. In concert with these other tips, you could make a big dent in that bill.