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How Much Does Heating Cost? 3 Tips for a More Efficient Winter

Chances are, if you are reading this, you are overpaying on your heating bill. It may be because you are still using an outdated system to generate heat, or it may be because your home isn’t optimized to retain the heat you do produce. In either case, you probably need to turn your focus to energy efficiency: a more efficient winter means a reduced energy bill. So how much does heating cost if you follow our three tips to maximize your home’s energy efficiency?

You may be surprised at how much you can bring your energy bill down.

1. Insulation Is the Key

How Much Does Heating Cost? 3 Tips for a More Efficient Winter

As we’ve mentioned, the secret to keeping your energy costs down is maximizing your home’s energy efficiency. But what, exactly, do we mean by that? Well, when we say efficiency, we are referring to the amount of energy that is transformed into usable heat. The laws of physics state that no system is 100 percent efficient: some energy will always be lost as waste. However, recent advances in technology mean that a lot less energy is being wasted than ever before.

An energy-efficient home doesn’t necessarily begin with advanced technology, however. Indeed, you may have the most advanced system in the world, but if your insulation doesn’t measure up, it won’t really matter. By the same token, an older and less efficient model can still be reasonably efficient if your home is well-insulated.

This is because the insulation in your home is responsible for keeping the heat energy your furnace generates inside the home. Poor insulation means that heat energy will escape and then dissipate in the environment, forcing your furnace to work extra hard to keep the building at a comfortable temperature.

The journey towards an energy-efficient home begins with a thorough inspection of your insulation. Poor insulation in the attic and walls should be replaced; windows should be properly sealed. If you wish, you can also opt for advanced materials, such as Energy Star–rated, insulating windows, to take your home’s energy efficiency to the next level.

2. Regular Maintenance Really Matters

One of the main reasons homeowners overpay on their heating bills is that they don’t keep their HVAC systems properly maintained. On the face of it, this seems obvious: if one part of the heating system isn’t functioning at its full potential, it will force other systems to work extra hard to keep up.

One of the first elements of the HVAC system to begin to lose its efficiency, and drive up your energy bills as a result, is the ductwork. Most homes utilize forced-air heating systems to pump heated air throughout the home. These forced-air systems use ducts made from aluminum or other lightweight metals. As air circulates throughout the ducts, it carries dirt and debris with it. This dirt and debris can build up inside the ducts, eventually slowing the airflow. This will, in turn, hamper the HVAC system’s ability to transport heat from room to room, ultimately driving your energy bill up.

Another feature of the HVAC system that often fails and forces you to pay more on your heating bill is the thermostat. The thermostat is the piece of equipment responsible for regulating the HVAC system itself. You set it to your desired temperature, and it will cycle the system on and off to keep the home arriving at that temperature. However, if the thermostat is malfunctioning, it may cycle the furnace on too long or too often, burning more fuel than is necessary and, once again, driving up the heating bill.

Regular maintenance can help you to sidestep these problems. It can also prevent catastrophic failures in the HVAC system that will necessitate expensive repairs. Ideally, you should have an HVAC professional from a company like Entek perform an inspection at least once a year.

3. Upgrade Your System

In recent years, home heating technology has advanced a great deal. The latest innovations mean that new HVAC systems are more energy efficient than ever before. For example, we’ve previously mentioned that a great deal of heat that a furnace generates is lost as waste. Newer furnaces, however, can do a lot more than just cut back on wasted heat: they can actually recapture some of it and put it back into the system. So, while no system runs with 100 percent efficiency, many modern ones can run with well over 90 percent.

Other new technologies have taken these advances even further. Heating is as expensive as it is because you have to pay for the cost of fuel. So how much does heating cost if you don’t need to use any fuel at all? This is the premise behind a heat pump. Rather than generating heat, heat pumps utilize refrigerant coils to absorb and transfer heat from place to place. This means it can be used to move ambient heat from outside the home to the inside. No furnace needed.

Heat pumps are also built to be localized to individual zones of the home. A lot of energy is wasted heating rooms no one is currently occupying. Heat pumps avoid this waste by pinpointing specific areas, only sending heat energy where it is needed.

The increasing cost of fuels means that you should be taking steps to reduce your energy costs wherever you can. Nowadays, paying for natural gas or oil to heat your home can easily run you over $50 per month. Heat pumps and other methods are significantly cheaper, sometimes costing as little as $15 per month. In order to take advantage of these lower costs, however, you must upgrade your heating system when you are able to do so.Contact Entek HVAC and ask them to quote you the cost of a new heating system for your home. They can also offer you advice on what the best and most efficient system is for your home and your geographic area so that you can enjoy an energy-efficient winter.

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