The Winter months bring more reasons to spend time with family and friends inside—from the much lower temperatures outside. You’ll rarely see snow in Florida, much less a blizzard or an ice storm. But it’s still chilly enough to make for an expensive heating bill if you’re not careful. Here are seven tips to keep the temperatures up in your home while keeping the costs down with your heating bills as the temperature continues to dip beneath our state’s relative warmth.
Be Flexible with Your Thermostat
When it gets cold outside, try to make a habit of setting your thermostat at different temperatures during the day. When the sun is up, keep your thermostat just below 70 degrees. During your nighttime routine, turn the thermostat up 7 to 10 degrees just before you go to bed. Borrowing some of the sun’s natural heat during the day and using your heater at night can lower your utility bill by as much as 10%, according to the Department of Energy.
Schedule HVAC Inspections Regularly
Getting out ahead of HVAC problems will almost always be less expensive than waiting until they need to be completely replaced. And it also ensures your home is never without a working heating system. Ask your local HVAC professional to inspect your air ducts, furnace filters, and heat pump as those are the most common places that problems build up without you noticing. Spending a little money on maintenance throughout the year will extend the life of your heating system and prevent you from having to make a costly purchase or replacing your HVAC system, helping you potentially save a lot of money.
Keep Your Heat Pump Clean
If you use a heat pump, cleaning or changing the filters at least once a month can help you use less energy when heating water, reducing your utility bill every month. Clear out any brush or plant life around your outdoor unit as well, as this can block airflow and hinder your system’s performance.
Don’t Forget About the Water Heater
Your HVAC doesn’t just heat the air in your home—showers, dishwashers, and more need hot water to run effectively. And when it’s cold outside, your water heater could be working overtime, resulting in a higher-than-expected heating bill. During the winter months, turn down your tank’s thermostat to 120 degrees from the typical manufacturer’s setting of 140 degrees. This could save you an average of $460 per year, according to the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy.
Reduce Hot Water Usage
Speaking of water heaters, you have many opportunities throughout the day to reduce the amount of hot water you’re using. Try taking showers instead of hot baths. Wash your clothes with cold or warm water unless hot water is absolutely necessary. Most washing machines have a “warm” setting that cleans effectively at 86 degrees Fahrenheit.
Insulate Your Water Pipes
If your water pipes aren’t insulated, they’re allowing cold air into hot water channels, forcing you to use more water and energy to heat your home. You can insulate these lines yourself with foam pipe wrap or include this service in your scheduled HVAC maintenance plan.
Install Weather Stripping
Consider installing weather stripping to get you through the winter months. Put simply, this helps warm air stay in and cold air stay out, keeping your home as warm as possible without having to put extra strain on your HVAC system. Vinyl is a common material when insulating your windows, and it’s inexpensive, while magnetic strips are a more expensive (and more effective) solution. Speak to one of our HVAC professionals to discover what solution is best for you.