Heating bills can soar during cold winters, and that’s money you can’t recover. If you’re ready to start saving money, we can shed some light on what you can do for lower bills this winter.
Our experts can agree on a collection of best practices based on decades of experience. Boonstra Heating and Cooling has been installing, maintaining, and repairing furnaces since 1961, so we’ve learned a few tricks on optimizing your furnace operation.
When it comes to keeping your heating bill down, keeping the air that your furnace has already heated indoors will win you more than half the battle.
Heat Conservation Habits to Get Into
As they say, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," so you might want to build a few good habits for the onset of winter each year.
Monitor & Reduce Humidity
Thanks to the Great Lakes, southern Ontario, including Hamilton and Burlington, has plenty of humidity. On average, Hamilton has an annual average humidity of 86% in the morning, and 65% in the afternoon. That’s pretty humid compared to most of the country!
One thing to remember about a humid climate is that moist air can take a lot of heat before it actually warms up. That’s because there’s more water in the air than dry air, so air is harder to warm up — due to the unique way water molecules transfer heat.
Lower Your Home’s Temperature at Night
Turning down the heat by 2-4 degrees Celsius at night means your furnace doesn’t need to work as much when you’re bundled up under several blankets. If you have a programmable thermostat, you can easily set your thermostat to turn the heat up an hour or two before you and your family wake up in the morning.
Close Blinds at Night & Open Them for the Day
Close window blinds at night and open them during the day. Windows can leak a lot of warm air, so you have to get a little strategic about how and when you open them. Blinds act temporarily as an extra layer of insulation, which is especially important at night.
During the day, you can open your blinds to trap solar radiation inside the house, like a greenhouse. Having the sun helping to warm your home takes a load off your furnace.
Utilize Your Ceiling Fan for Convection Heating
If you feel cold sitting on your couch, your home might just need better distribution of warm air rather than more warm air. Ceiling fans typically have two directions they can spin: one setting pushes air down, and the other sucks air up.
In the winter, warmer air will gather at the ceiling, but you’ll want it to push it down. Once your ceiling fans are pushing warm air back down, you’ll get a good circulation of warm air, distributing heat to the parts of the room that need it.
Investments You Can Make to Conserve Heat
When you’re ready to start winterizing your home, there are a few good investments you can make that will complement your heat conservation habits.
As mentioned, windows can leak warm air. Expanding and contracting air and ice around your windows can cause the seals around your windows to crack. A home improvement store will have the supplies you need to recaulk the seals, so less air can escape through the cracks.
It might be obvious, but it’s good to keep in mind that the less your furnace has to work, the more money you’ll save on your heating bill. Furnace maintenance helps your furnace more efficiently, which means you save money on your heating bill!
Professional furnace maintenance not only ensures your furnace is running efficiently but safely as well. A professional furnace technician will know how to adjust your furnace safely whether your furnace is gas or electric.
There’s great value in having professionals from an experienced company. In addition to safety, there’s a trained eye that can spot problems before they snowball into a broken component in need of furnace repair.
Forced-air furnaces rely on clear and clean ducts, so for an efficient HVAC system, you should consider an annual duct cleaning. Dust, dirt, pollen, and other debris can collect in the ducts coming out of your HVAC system, making it harder for the furnace to move air day in and day out. It’s the same idea again: the harder your furnace works, the less money you’ll save.
It might be expensive to get installed professionally, but insulation has come a long way, so you can consider installing newer materials if you’re in an older home. R-Value is a measure of insulation, i.e. how effectively the insulation can keep heat from inside getting out.
With an uninsulated attic, you might want an R-Value of R49 to R60, but if you’re adding to an existing 3-4 inches of insulation, R38 to R49 is all you’ll need. A home improvement store or an insulation company could give you a quote to consider.
Our experienced technicians at Boonstra swear by smart thermostats, because you can give your furnace a break while your home is empty. If you’re going away for a few days you can let the house cool off, and remotely use your smartphone to warm your house back up a few hours before you return.
High-efficiency furnaces are made to be especially efficient, but almost any new furnace will be much more efficient than an older model. We stock high-efficiency, Energy Star® equipment for better carbon emissions ratings and energy savings!
Little Efforts Saving Heat Get Big Results
Whether you decide to upgrade to a newer, energy-efficient furnace, you can rest assured that all your efforts can save you money over a long period of time. A dollar spent today can save you several down the line.