About one-half of U.S. households use natural gas and that can mean drastic jumps in heating costs come winter. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.cfm?id=13311) states that 90% of U.S. households are looking higher heating expenditures this winter.
Those using natural gas will see a larger increase than people who heat with electricity, oil or another fuel. Heating your home with natural gas will cost approximately 14% more than it did last year. This is due to changes in energy prices, but it doesn’t mean you can’t take steps to reduce the cost of heating.
How to Cut Costs
Investing in a more efficient heater means lower energy costs, so it may be worth replacing your old furnace with a newer model. If your current furnace is more than 5-10 years old, it is not likely to be very energy efficient.
Companies recognize the importance of having a high efficiency heating system. There are a number of furnaces, as well as heating/cooling systems, which are designed to use a minimal amount of fuel or electricity. Simply replacing your older system with a new one could give you some major savings.
What to Look for in an Energy Efficient Heater
Choosing a new furnace is an opportunity not only to save money, but to reduce your carbon footprint. Take some time to research the different fuel options so you can select the one that works best for you. In some cases, switching from electric to natural gas or vice versa may make sense.
It’s also essential that you choose a furnace that is the right size to heat your home. However, anything that is larger than you need will waste fuel, so keep it as close to your actual needs as possible.
Properly maintaining your heating and cooling system will also help you save money over time. Changing the filters is just one of the things you should do at least twice a year. Check the blower assembly and clean it out, as well. The vents should be clean and clear of debris.
It’s also a good idea to check for corrosion in the pipes and flues, as this can result in a large amount of heat escaping outside. In fact, you’ll want to check the entire system for possible leaks. These should be sealed off before the unit is brought into full time use during colder weather.
The thermostat should also be inspected. Malfunctioning thermostats can waste quite a bit of energy. If you notice the furnace is switching on and off all the time, this may be the problem.
If you are not comfortable doing the inspections yourself, or simply do not have the time, you can hire professionals to take care of it for you. They will come in and do a full maintenance, including checks and leak repair, as well as filter changes and cleaning. This is a good option if you want to ensure that everything gets done quickly and on time.
Avoid higher heating expenditures this winter by choosing a more efficient heater or increasing your maintenance on an existing system. Even with changes in energy prices, you can save money by taking these steps.