Winter is almost here. When the temperatures drop, most families use their heating systems to maintain a cozy, comfortable home. When electricity consumption increases in winter, your electricity bills will rise too.
While a slight spike in your energy usage is normal, exorbitant electricity bills are a matter of concern.
Often, homeowners unknowingly commit mistakes when using their heating systems. These mistakes do not just hurt HVAC efficiency, but can cause premature wear.
Avoid these heating mistakes to maintain your heating system’s efficiency and make it last longer.
Neglecting Air Filters
HVAC air filters are designed to improve indoor air quality. They trap contaminants such as dander, dust, dirt, and pollen in the air that passes through them. Over time, they get clogged with these contaminants.
A clogged filter can do more harm than good and can make your home smell stale and musty. Clogged filters are one of the most common causes of airflow problems. They can make your heating system work harder than usual, causing your electricity bill to skyrocket.
Dirty filters increase the stress on your fan’s blower motor and can cause your system to overheat and eventually break down.
To steer clear of these issues, replace filters regularly. Heating companies in Contra Costa County recommend changing filters every 30 to 90 days.
How frequently you need to replace filters will depend on if you have an elderly parent or kids at home. If someone in your family has a seasonal allergy or is at risk, replace your filters every 30 days.
Cranking Up the Heat
Many homeowners falsely believe that running their system at full blast will heat their space quickly. In reality, cranking up the heat can do more harm than good by causing your heating system to work harder and longer.
To save money on your heating bills, set your unit to your desired temperature and wait patiently for the air to warm up.
The warmer your home, the easier it will be for your heating system to maintain a comfortable home temperature.
To soak your home in sunlight, keep blinds or curtains on south-facing windows open during the day. To prevent heat loss, lower your blinds and close your curtains after dusk which will help retain heat.
Not Scheduling Pre-winter Maintenance
Many homeowners do not reach out to their contractors until their system develops an issue or stops working.
This can be a costly mistake. If you ignore maintenance, premature wear may occur. By the time you realize your mistake and reach out to your contractor for help, it may be too late and you may end up with expensive repairs or may have to replace your system.
Even if you do not notice any issues, have your contractor inspect and maintain your heating system before winter hits in full force. Some problems hide in plain sight and can go undetected for weeks, even months.
During a pre-winter maintenance session, your contractor will take various steps to prepare your heating system for winter. The professional will clean, lubricate, and repair or replace parts. They will perform different tests to check whether the parts are working properly.
Here are some common tasks your contractor will perform during a pre-winter maintenance session:
- Lubricating moving parts to reduce friction between them
- Checking condensate piping and pump
- Checking the blower motor and blower wheel for dust build-up
- Testing the ignitor
- Checking flame signal and gas pressure
- Inspecting the combustion motor, heat exchanger, and pressure switch
- Checking and replacing filters if required
- Cleaning the exterior unit
- Checking the heat anticipator settings
- Testing the limits, burners, and blower
Closing Unused Vents
Many homeowners wrongly believe that closing the vents in unused rooms can improve heating efficiency.
This is a bad idea. Your heating system is appropriately sized to distribute heating to every area of your home. Closing vents will affect your system’s efficiency.
To ensure conditioned air can circulate freely throughout your home, keep your vents open.
Drafty windows are unable to prevent conditioned air from escaping. They also allow cold air to enter your home. When this happens, your heating system is forced to work harder. An overburdened heating system draws more energy than usual to maintain a comfortable home temperature.
Before winter hits in full force, check your windows for leaks. Seal up any leaks to prevent warm air from escaping.
Failing to Use the Thermostat Correctly
Do not crank your thermostat up to heat your home faster – it does not work. A study by Energy Star found that homeowners could be wasting up to $180 per year by leaving their thermostat on one setting. Instead, turn your thermostat down by 10-15 degrees when no one is home to get the most out of it.
Clean your thermostat regularly with a soft, clean piece of cloth. Check and replace batteries at regular intervals.
Connolly Heating and Air Conditioning is a renowned heating company in Contra Costa County. We have a cost-effective and sustainable solution to every heating problem. To discuss your project with our team, call (925) 288-1408.