Hoosiers have a habit of holding out on turning their furnace on for the first time each year. No matter how chilly it gets the first month or so of fall, many Indianapolis homeowners will keep saying, “just one more week, just one more week,” and delay that first blast of warm air. Why? Well, the answer is pretty simple: they are trying to keep their heating bills low.
It is no secret that in Indiana energy bills spike in the winter. While there are different factors that contribute to this, one of the biggest reasons is the increased amount of energy needed to keep one’s house warm. It takes a lot less energy to cool a house to 70 degrees inside from 90 degrees outside in the summer than it does to warm a house to 70 degrees inside from 15 degrees outside in the winter.
Keeping your heating bills low can be a challenge. After all, once it starts getting brutally cold you can’t afford not to turn your furnace up to where it needs to be to keep your family comfortable and help prevent other issues like frozen pipes.
Thankfully, you don’t need to turn your home into an icebox just to keep heating bills low and put a little extra cash into your holiday budget. These six action items can help keep your heating bills low for free or for a low, worthwhile investment that will save you money in the long run.
Get a programmable thermostat
If you haven’t equipped your home with a programmable thermostat yet, you really don’t know what you are missing out on. Programmable thermostats help you save money on your heating bills by more closely regulating your home’s temperature throughout the day.
Programming your thermostat to automatically reduce the temperature by even just a few degrees while you are gone for the day or sleeping so you aren’t wasting heat and energy can reduce your yearly heating and cooling costs by up to 25%.
Keep your filter and vents clean
A clogged furnace filter doesn’t just help circulate unclean air, it also makes air distribution throughout the house more difficult since air cannot pass as easily through it. This makes your furnace work harder and use more energy to keep up. It is important that homeowners change their furnace filter every couple of months to keep their heating bills low.
The same goes for the vents your warm air blows through too. If your vents are covered or blocked by furniture, excessive dirt, dust, or pet hair heat won’t be able to pass through to your home as easily. Your thermostat will stay low and tell your furnace to keep futility pumping heat and taking unnecessary money out of your pocket.
Install a humidifier
Whole house humidifiers help keep your home’s air moisture higher during a time of year in which the air normally becomes extremely dry. Maintaining your home’s air humidity is important during the fall and winter because air retains heat more efficiently when the moisture levels are high. That is why your home stays so darn hot during the summer months!
With the help of a whole house humidifier, your home can stay warmer with less effort from your furnace. On top of that, the extra air moisture helps keep you comfortable by preventing your skin from drying out as easily and helps prevent other seasonal discomforts like scratchy throats and chapped lips.
Seal your windows
One of the biggest causes of high heating bills, particularly in older homes, is the need for your furnace to compensate for heat lost to drafty windows, up to 30% in fact. Homes with old, improperly insulated, or leaky windows are throwing money quite literally out the window each and every year, but there are thankfully a variety of fixes ranging from simple to complex.
Caulking or weather-stripping your windows can be a simple solution to patching up air leaks and keeping your warm air sealed inside. For larger windows, applying window film or heavier shades or curtains can add an additional layer of protection from heat loss. If you are sick and tired of Band-Aids and want to fix the problem once and for all, consider upgrading and installing some brand new energy-efficient windows in your home.
Get a furnace tune up
When was the last time your furnace got a tune up? If you are going on a couple of years since your last inspection or your furnace is just getting up in years, your furnace may have developed issues that are preventing it from running as efficiently as possible. If your furnace is limited in its heat output due to problems that could be easily fixed, you are paying higher heating bills than you need to.
Regular furnace maintenance can help you keep your furnace running smoothly, get ahead of any issues before they get worse, and keep your heating bills low as a result. If your furnace is too old or beyond repair, a newer more energy-efficient furnace is indeed a sizable investment but it is one that can save you lots of money over time.
Turn on your ceiling fans
Warm air has a tendency to rise in your home, which explains why it always seems to be hotter upstairs than downstairs. As warm air cycles from the first floor to the second and the first floor cools, your furnace will obviously try and replace it with new warm air. But, you can give your furnace a bit of a break by helping keep your warm air pushed down for as long as possible by turning on your ceiling fans.
It may seem counterproductive using a fan to help keep a room warm. However, setting your fan to spin the opposite direction on a low setting will help push warm air back down and keep it from rising. Prolonging the need for a new blast of warm air can give your furnace a rest and conserve energy.
Ready to make some upgrades around the house to help keep your heating bills low this fall and winter? Breedlove Dobbs carries and installs humidifiers, programmable thermostats, and other energy saving equipment to help keep your home comfortable all year long. Call 317.888.9111 for service or schedule an appointment online!