October 26, 2017

Heating your house can get expensive, and that’s perfectly normal. But when your utility bill suddenly hits the roof and stays there for multiple billing periods, you may be committing some heating errors that are increasing your energy bills. Here are some of those mistakes that may be pushing up heating bills at home.

Poor insulation

When your home is not properly insulated, heated air may escape through cracks, holes, and even through walls and ceilings, and cold air may seep in from the outside. Either way, your heating system will have to work harder to compensate, and that leads to higher heating bills.

The best and only solution for this problem is to have a professional improve your home’s insulation. It may cost you extra, but you will save more energy (and more money) in the long run, and that makes insulation a great investment.

Cranking up the thermostat when the temperature outside drops

A thermostat is designed to maintain the desired temperature inside, regardless of the weather outside. Some of us, however, think that turning up the thermostat when the weather outside gets cold will keep us warmer. What will actually happen is that it will get too warm for comfort, and we’ll be forced to dial the heat back. By then, we’ll have already wasted energy.

Trying to speed-heat your home

Your home seems colder than usual, so you decide to crank up the thermostat. It will become warmer, of course, but not at the speed you want or expect. Turning the thermostat up does not accelerate the heating process in any way. All it does is overheat the house beyond a recommended 68◦F and can waste energy. Patience is a virtue, so get your finger off the thermostat and just wait to get comfortable.

Turning off the heat entirely when you’re not home

It’s easy to believe that by shutting off the heat when you’re at work or somewhere else, you are saving energy. Theoretically, this is correct. What’s the point of keeping the heat on when there’s no one around to benefit from it, right? But we have to consider how cold our homes are going to get if we turn off the heating every time we leave the house during the colder months. If your house is well-insulated, there’s an excellent chance it will retain some of the heat by the time you get back home. If insulation is a problem, the temperature inside your home will drop. When it’s that cold, heating it to more comfortable levels is going to waste more energy than if you just kept the heating on the whole time you were away.

Of course, you should turn your thermostat down 7 to 10 degrees when you’re out if you don’t want to waste energy. You can change the thermostat settings manually before you leave and when you get home, or you can use a programmable thermostat to control the timing of your heating.

Not using a programmable thermostat

It boggles the mind how a lot of homeowners still struggle with the idea of getting a programmable thermostat for their heating systems. As mentioned earlier in the post, a programmable thermostat is great for controlling the timing of your heating. They can also keep the temperature consistent, maximize zoned heating, and optimize your HVAC system. A programmable thermostat is one of the most cost-effective investments you can make for your home.

If your energy bills are sky high this heating season, you may be making one or more of the mistakes mentioned above. By changing how you use your thermostat and heating system, you will be well on your way to lowering your energy bills and saving money.

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Michelle West, Guest Poster

Michelle West is the Senior Content Editor of Precision Air and Heating. Michelle enjoys writing about topics that help people all over the country make their homes more efficient and environmentally-friendly.