Winter means heating season - and heating season can make home and business owners cringe at the forthcoming energy bills they’re going to see over the next few months. Here in California, we’re privileged to enjoy some of the mildest weather anywhere in the world, but that doesn’t make heating any less necessary. Likewise, our energy prices also make heating pretty expensive. However, heating doesn’t have to cost a fortune and it’s actually easier than you might think to save on this winter expense.
Here are a few helpful tips that can help you keep your heating bills low and possibly help your heater last longer without sacrificing on your comfort.
Check Your Air Filter Every Month
Your air filter is one of the most important components in your entire heating system and yet, it may not get the attention it needs. Your air filter can be an “out of sight, out of mind” thing that you don’t think about all that often. However, forgetting about it isn’t a good thing. Most of the problems your heater can have can be directly or indirectly connected to a dirty air filter - and winter is typically the season when indoor air quality tends to suffer as we keep our homes closed up to prevent unwanted heat loss.
We recommend setting a reminder on your phone to check your heater every month. You may not need to change your filter every month, but you may be surprised to find that it needs to be changed out every two to three months. Having spare filters stored somewhere in your home can help you be prepared when your filter needs to be replaced.
Invest in a Smart Thermostat
There may be no more lucrative investment in your home comfort than a smart thermostat. At their core, smart thermostats aren’t a lot different from your regular thermostat in that they turn your heating and cooling system on or off to regulate your home to a certain temperature. However, how they do this is completely different from any system you may have had before. Smart thermostats use the power of internet connectivity to give you easy and precise control from a smartphone or computer, anywhere in the world. They also give you the ability to create programs that your HVAC system will follow, such as setting more relaxed temperatures when you leave for work and then more ideal temperatures just before you return.
Some smart thermostats have even more advanced features, including the ability to use real-time weather data to adjust your indoor climate and use less energy whenever possible. Some even have the ability to learn your climate preferences and adjust to keep you comfortable at all times and cut back on energy consumption.
Use the Sun to Help You
The sun is nature’s heater and while the weather may turn cold but we’re privileged to be able to enjoy the sun most of the year in California. Because the sun has such an outstanding ability to provide heat even in winter, you can use the sun to your advantage to help you stay warmer. Opening window blinds and shades fills your home with natural light. This serves two purposes: it lets you shut off unnecessary lights, which helps you save money and it lets the sun’s natural warmth pour through your glass. This helps bring the temperature in your home up slightly, meaning your heater doesn’t have to run quite as often. Even these small adjustments can make a big difference over the course of a whole heating season.
Use Ceiling Fans to Help You
Ceiling fans are often considered a tool to help you stay cool in warmer months, but they can also help you keep heating bills down in winter. There is a reverser switch on the side of the motor housing of almost every ceiling fan. Flipping that switch reverses the direction that your fan blades spin and running the fan in reverse draws air upward, forcing it toward your ceiling. This creates a cycle of air in the space around the fan, forcing the warm air that has accumulated up at the ceiling to move back down and create a more evenly-heated space. This means your heater won’t have to run as often and that reduces energy consumption and heating costs! Just be sure you thoroughly dust your fan blades before turning the fan on again.
Elsewhere on Our Blog
Elsewhere in our blog this month, we took a look at a few other key topics that are discussed a lot around the holiday season. First, we took a close look at common mistakes when decorating your home for the holidays. Even a small problem could have big consequences, particularly when it comes to using electrical systems in an outdoor application and our blog took a look at a few common mistakes we see with outdoor holiday decorations.
We also took a look at a few common myths and misnomers that we hear around the holiday season. Solar is actually a fairly common discussion topic amongst friends and family members around the holiday season and we hear quite a few myths and misconceptions regarding solar on a regular basis. Our blog took a look at a few of these and set the record straight so you know the truth about this magnificent, money-saving technology.
Happy holidays from our family to yours here at Valley Heating, Cooling, Electrical and Solar!