With our cold Eastern Massachusetts winter weather, many 128 Plumbing residential and commercial customers have to contend with high energy bills during the heating season. If your heating bills are starting to increase, there are some effective strategies you can take to heat your home more efficiently and lower your energy consumption and costs.
Implementing some or all of the following suggestions can help you trim your yearly heating expenses and get those excessively high bills under control.
Air leaks around your home’s exterior doors can be major contributors to high heating bills, and since warm air rises, heat can also migrate up into your home’s unfinished attic. Compensating for these losses is what leads to high heating bills, but you can minimize the effect and associated costs by weatherstripping your doors and making sure the thresholds and door sweeps come together snugly. To curb heat losses into your attic, have any leak sources sealed around penetrations through the floor, and weatherize the access hatch as well.
Windows are another frequent source of air leaks and heat losses that result in high heating bills. To stop leakage around drafty windows, you can install airflow-inhibiting plastic film using double-sided tape. Alternately, you can invest in custom-fitted interior window inserts that block air leaks and direct energy losses through the glass. You can help warm your interior spaces using cost-free solar heat by opening your curtains or blinds on sunny days. Installing insulated shades or curtains that you can close at night can help retain that warmth, and reduce your high energy bills.
Having sufficient insulation installed on the sealed floor of your attic can limit heat exchange through the ceilings, and help reduce high heating bills. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recommends that homes in Massachusetts have between R-30 and R-60 installed to minimize heat loss. There are various types of insulation on the market, but blown-in products are a popular choice because they effectively fill in all the nooks and crannies typically found in attics.
Having an experienced 128 Plumbing heating technician install a programmable thermostat offers you an easy way to schedule energy-saving temperature setbacks overnight when your family is sleeping and during the day when no one is home. According to the DOE, programming daily eight-hour setbacks and setting the thermostat at 68 degrees when you’re home and active can lower your household energy consumption and costs by up to 10 percent annually and help trim your high heating bills.
If you heat your North Shore home with an older furnace or boiler, it may have an annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) as low as 65 percent, which means you’re wasting up to 35 percent of every dollar spent on heat, and paying unnecessarily high heating bills. The oil and gas heating equipment available today offers AFUEs ranging from 80 to 98 — the most efficient are ENERGY STAR-certified models with ratings between 95 and 98. This dramatic improvement in efficiency can translate into significant savings on your yearly heating costs.
Adding a controlled amount of moisture to your indoor air with a central humidifier can make your home feel more comfortable. Properly humidified air feels warmer at a lower temperature, so you dial back your thermostat setting and lower your high heating bills. The experienced team here at 128 Plumbing can advise you about the right humidifier model for your house and heating system.
You may not realize that there’s a direct connection between your air registers and high heating bills. If airflow through some of the registers is restricted, your heating equipment has to work harder and uses more energy, which results in higher heating bills. Keeping the supply and return registers fully open even in seldom-used rooms, and making sure they’re not blocked by rugs, furniture, or draperies can keep vital air flowing through your HVAC system to combat high heating bills.
If your Middlesex County home has a fireplace, you might think it’s a good supplement to running your primary heating system and that it can help lower high heating bills. While a roaring fire can make you feel cozy when it’s cold outside, it can actually be a source of heat loss that makes your furnace or boiler work harder. To enjoy the ambiance of an occasional fire without wasting heat, install tight-fitting doors on your fireplace, and close the flue damper after each use.
You likely already use your ceiling fans to lower high summer cooling bills, but running them during the heating season can help redistribute warm air and keep high wintertime bills in check. Heated air tends to collect up high near the ceilings, and running a fan on low with the blades rotating in reverse — or clockwise — gently pushes it back down into the occupied living space, so you can get the full benefit of its warmth.
When your heating system is working hard to keep your home comfortable, it’s important to check the condition of the air filter once a month, and replace it when it starts to look dirty. If the filter gets clogged up, airflow through the heating system drops, which increases the equipment’s workload and leads to high heating bills.
If your home has a forced-air heating system like many others in the Greater Boston area, deficiencies in the ductwork may be robbing you of up to 30 percent of its heating output and contributing to your high household energy bills. Having a highly trained 128 Plumbing heating pro fix any loose or disconnected sections, and seal and insulate the accessible ducts, can curb that waste and help lower your high heating bills.
Scheduling yearly preventive maintenance for your Eastern Massachusetts home’s heating system is an easy way to ensure it continues working efficiently, so you can avoid high heating bills. Performing regular maintenance also allows your skilled 128 Plumbing technicians to catch and fix developing heating equipment issues early on before they turn into bigger problems that leave you facing high repair bills.
For personalized advice about how to lower high heating bills in your Greater Boston area home, or to learn about your heating system replacement options, contact the trusted local experts here at 128 Plumbing. You can reach us by calling 781-670-3261, or schedule a free consultation online at your convenience.