For those of us who live in the Crystal Lake area, including Lake in the Hills, Algonquin, and more — you know how necessary it is to have proper heating in your home during the winter. In the bitter Chicagoland winters, we’re lucky if the high temperatures hover only a little above freezing. (Generally, it gets a heck of a lot colder.) During those coldest of times, your furnace works tirelessly to produce the heat your home requires. The question is whether you are spending more than you need to on your utility bill! Here are some tips for keeping the warmth in your home… and that utility bill low.
1. Seal Your Windows and Doors
Air leaking in through gaps around your windows and doors is detrimental to energy efficiency. A drafty home means your furnace has to put in more effort to maintain the temperature you want. More effort means more energy, and more energy means more money out of your pocket! Regularly inspect your weather stripping to ensure it’s in good shape and replace it if it’s ripped or cracked. If you notice any odd gaps around your windows or doors, a little bit of silicone caulk can help seal them up nicely. Also, consider adding shrink wrap to your windows for an added layer of protection. Sealing up your home is a quick and often very inexpensive way to make your heating system more efficient.
2. Turn Down Your Heat When You’re Out of the House
You may have heard that it costs more to lower your thermostat while you’re away from the house because your system works harder to get the temperature back up when you get home. However, studies show this is not true for modern systems. In fact, lowering your system 10 to 15 degrees while you’re at work can result in as much as 15% savings per year. Even lowering by as little as three degrees can cause noticeable reductions in your monthly bill. Incorporate turning down the thermostat into your daily routine to start saving today.
3. Get a Smart Thermostat
Smart thermostats such as the ecobee can further optimize your heating schedule and help your heating system become even more efficient. Not only can you set up a schedule, you can also configure the thermostat to intelligently optimize your heating system based on a wide range of factors, such as the weather conditions outside and the humidity levels in your home. Ecobee Plus handles all of this heavy lifting for you, optimizing your system based on these factors for the most efficiently heated home possible. Even better, Plus is a free software upgrade for most ecobee owners, depending on the model. If you’re interested in installing an ecobee, contact us online or give us a call!
3. Insulate Your Attic
A lot of people put off insulating their attics because of the up front cost. However, installing attic insulation is an investment that will save you a lot of money in the future. Sealing your attic with insulation keeps all the heat in your living space that would typically rise into the attic and through the roof. The average cost for insulating an attic can vary, but in most cases the long-term savings will well surpass that. Plus, insulating your attic increases your home’s resale value, further adding to its value as an investment.
4. Use Solar Panels
Solar panels are a significant investment up-front. Looking to make your home self-sufficient energy-wise will cost around ten thousand dollars, minimum. But, if you have the funds, it can be a useful way to increase your energy efficiency. Not only are they great for the environment, but they can also cover up to 100% of your heating and HVAC costs. Plus, the federal government currently offers tax incentives to encourage people to convert to solar power. The cost of installing solar panels is a large pill to swallow, but the long-term benefits can be significant.
5. Put in a Storm Door
Storm doors act as natural buffers against the elements. Even if you have energy-efficient doors, a storm door can help you reduce your heating costs. Manufacturers often equip storm doors with specialized, low-emission glass or coatings that can reduce heat loss by up to 50% more than regular glass. Storm doors also protect your exterior doors from environmental damage. Storm doors aren’t too bad price-wise, either. Most have price tags under $100!
6. Get a Yearly Inspection
The value of having an expert check your furnace and HVAC systems regularly cannot be understated. Professional HVAC technicians, like the team at Absolute Comfort in Crystal Lake, can identify issues with your systems to help prevent costly repairs and tell you if your units are running less than optimally. Plus, our checkups typically include cleanings and the fixing of small problems. Having it checked can make you aware of problems and inefficiencies you may otherwise have not noticed until it was too late. To help with this, we offer money-saving HVAC maintenance plans that include 2 annual visits, plus we remind you when your equipment is due for service so you don’t have to remember!
7. Tune-Up Your System
If you identify an active issue with your furnace, you may consider hiring a professional to tune-up your furnace. Regular furnace tune ups help to resolve problems that naturally occur as your furnace operates each day. While the end goal of your furnace is to produce heat — a simple goal — how it gets there requires some pretty complex machinery. A tune-up will not only keep that system in good working condition, but it will also help it run at maximum efficiency. After some basic maintenance and TLC, you have your best chance at seeing some savings on your heating bill.
8. Upgrade to a More Efficient Furnace
If your furnace is at least 10 years old, you may benefit from a new furnace installation — even if it’s still currently working. Older furnaces tend to be less efficient, but with the rapid pace of technology, newer furnaces are more efficient with energy use than ever before. On top of that, depending on the age and condition of your current furnace, upgrading to a newer furnace could save you money versus spending cash on unnecessary repairs on outdated equipment! Did you know that we offer free in-home estimates for new furnaces? If you’d like to find out how much it would cost to upgrade your system, get in touch with us online or call 815-893-9276.
If you decide you want to make your heating system more efficient, the professional HVAC technicians at Absolute Comfort are here to help. Talk to one of our experts to find out how you can make your heating system more energy efficient today!