Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016 by Sela Gutter
It is certainly no secret that energy bills can rise significantly during the winter months, especially if you live in a cold climate. Many homeowners find themselves dreading the winter months and wondering how they are going to pay those outrageous energy bills. The good news is that there are things you can do to reduce the cost while still keeping your home - and your family - warm and comfortable all season long.
Some of these steps are best taken in the fall - or even late summer. Others can wait until the weather has already turned chilly. No matter what, the key is to be prepared for winter heating bills. A little bit of preparation now can mean lower heating costs all winter long.
Schedule an Annual Checkup: Perhaps the most important thing you can do to prepare for winter is have your furnace thoroughly checked out by a professional. A lot can happen to your home heating system over the summer months. Having it inspected by a certified heating contractor can give you real peace of mind.
A heating engineer will be able to spot problems that you may have overlooked - problems that could lead to an unexpected breakdown on a cold winter night. Some furnace problems can even be a threat to your safety and that of your family, so having it checked out is essential. A faulty heating system could lead to a buildup of carbon monoxide and other dangerous gasses. The sooner you schedule your annual checkup the sooner you can set your mind at ease.
This type of checkup is best done in the fall or late summer - before those heating contractors start getting busy. You can wait until winter is underway, but that could mean having to wait a long time for the service you need.
Make an Appointment with Your Furnace: Regular maintenance is essential, no matter what type of heating system you use. Get familiar with the filters your furnace uses - what they look like, where to get them and how to change them. The heating contractor who does your inspection can show you how to check and change the filters and keep the unit running smoothly.
You should replace your furnace filters once a month for maximum efficiency. One of the best ways to stay on schedule is to change the filters on the same date each month - like the first of the month. Just keep a stack of filters by your furnace, mark your calendar and keep your heating system running as efficiently as possible.
Check the Settings on Your Water Heater: It can be tempting to crank up the heat on your water heater, especially if you are a fan of long hot showers. Keep in mind, however, that the hottest setting also uses the most power - and that could be making your energy bills soar.
The low and middle settings should be sufficient - more than enough to give you the hot showers you need. You may need to experiment with the setting a bit, but an efficiently running water heater should not have to be set to the highest setting. If you have to crank it up to get hot water, it is time to schedule an appointment with a good plumber.
Seal Your Windows and Doors: Fall is the perfect time to add extra caulking around your windows and put new weather-stripping under your doors. A lot of heat can escape through your windows and doors - and that escaping air can cause a winter spike in your heating bills.
Sealing your doors and windows for the winter is easy. All you need is a few dollars worth of materials and a few hours of your time. Making sure your windows and doors are airtight in late fall is one of the best ways to trim your winter heating bills.
Taking a few steps now can dramatically lower your heating bills when winter really gets going. Getting your home ready for winter is not hard - it just requires a little bit of time, knowledge and dedication.
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