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Winter and Your Heater: How Can You Save Money?

Digital thermostat
The mercury is dipping, but your heating bills are on the rise. What's going on? The colder it gets, the more your heating system needs to work if you want to keep yourself and your family warm and comfortable.
Winter heating bills are no joke. Even if it's not anywhere near Arctic-level temps, you'll still notice a jump in your energy usage. But that doesn't mean you have to sit back and keep writing out checks. Of course, you do have to pay your electric and gas bills. What you don't need to do is pay more just because you have an inefficient heating system.
How can you improve your home's energy efficiency while making sure that everyone inside still stays warm? Take a look at some of the easiest ways to lower your heating bills and improve energy efficiency. Proper HVAC maintenance, using energy-efficient appliances and insulating may reduce your overall energy cost by up to 30 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Insulate Leaks

If you have air leaks, then you may also have higher heating bills. Why does this happen? Homes develop air leaks for a number of reasons.
Old, drafty, single-pane windows let the air in, and so do cracked window frames. Along with this, gaps around the frames or under entry doors can also let cold air in and warm air out. Likewise, unheated spaces, such as basements or crawlspaces, can let cold air into what should be warmer areas.
Before you can insulate air leaks, you must first find them. Walk around your home feeling for places where the air is coming in or going out. Feel around window frames, under and around doors or in the spaces that you know don't have ventilation systems.
When you find a leak, fix it. This may mean re-caulking around windows (both inside and out), adding weather-stripping, insulating larger spaces or even putting plastic sheeting over windows.

High-Efficiency Furnace

How much energy does your home's heating system use?  If you have an old furnace, chances are that the answer is “too much.” There are a few different ways to tell if your furnace needs an upgrade.
Obviously, replacing a furnace is costly. But not replacing it may cost you more in the long run. A furnace that doesn't work well and heats inefficiently can cost you significantly more on electric or gas bills than a replacement would.
How do you know if your furnace is ready for a replacement? If you notice a sudden spike in energy bills, chances are something is going on with your heater. The parts may be worn or there may be some other issue that's causing the HVAC system to not work at its fullest potential.
Other signs to look out for include the constant need for repairs, the uneven heating of your home and the consistent need to bump up your thermostat setting. These signs, combined with the age of your furnace if it's over a decade old, may indicate that you need a new heating system. New energy-efficient furnaces and boilers can save you energy and money, and they can help you save the planet too.

Thermostat Issues

You finally got a new high-efficiency heating system. But you don't see the results you're looking for when it comes to your energy bills. What's going on? It's possible that you're setting your thermostat too high.
Obviously, if you're sweating in January, you have the temperature set too high. But if you're warm and comfy, you can still save money by changing your thermostat settings. You can lower your energy bill by programming your thermostat down a few degrees. Lowering it by 10 degrees for 8 hours can save you between 5 percent and 15 percent per year.
This doesn't mean you need to drop the temperature enough to make your family freeze. Try changing it while you're at work or at night while you're asleep.
Do you have further questions about how to lower your energy bill? Contact ET Ferrell & Son Heating & Air Conditioning Specialists.