Winter is not an easy time for your energy bill. In the colder months, you typically use more energy to heat the entire home. The constant use of heat can not only raise your bills, but it can overwork your HVAC system and lead to leaks and breaks. The last thing you want to deal with during the winter is a broken furnace. No one wants a chilly house. To keep your heating and cooling systems running efficiently and your energy bills manageable, it’s important to know how to make your home energy-friendly. A great measure of your home’s energy efficiency is the Energy Star rating system.
What is the Energy Star rating system?
Energy Star—trademarked as ENERGY STAR— is a federal voluntary program operated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Energy Star educates people on how to save money and improve the environment through energy efficiency, much of which starts in the home. To help home and building owners select energy-efficient products Energy Star researches, identifies, and promotes products that fit their standards and place their “seal of approval” on these products. They even have an Energy star rating system to show which products are the most energy-efficient and, therefore, “Energy Star Certified.”
Using tips and tricks from the Energy Star, we’ve put together a guide for keeping your electrical bills low and energy rating high during the wintertime.
Winter Energy Efficiency Guide
Regularly Change Your Air Filter
Dirty air filters slow down airflow and make your HVAC system work harder to keep your home warm. This not only wastes energy, but it overworks your system and increases your heating bill. During heavy use months, like the winter and summer, check your air filter every month. Folks often ask us how often they should change their air filter, and the answer depends on how dirty or clean it is. If it looks dirty, replace the air filter immediately. Leaving an air filter unchanged can lead to expensive maintenance or early system failure later on. If it is clean, air filters can last up to three months unchanged.
Tune or Replace HVAC Equipment
Just like regularly visiting the dentist for a cleaning, checking and tuning your HVAC equipment every year can improve its efficiency and your comfort. Ideally, have your system checked before the winter season hits so you can catch and repair any small problems before the cold weather settles in.
Since 50% of your utility bill goes into heating your home, having your furnace inspected regularly can help you save money in the long run. We recommend checking and fixing your furnace about once a year for optimal performance. With the tune-ups, remember to change your furnace filter every month or as prescribed by the manufacturer. This will help regulate the proper flow of warm air throughout your home.
If your furnace is outdated (10 or more years old) or broken beyond reasonable repair, contact an HVAC professional for furnace installation services. Many HVAC companies, like Mountain Heating and Cooling, have furnace options that are Energy Star verified, so you can have peace of mind knowing you’ve made the right choice for your space.
Clean and Check Vents
Your heating system runs best when there is nothing obstructing the flow of air from returns and vents. Having clogged or blocked vents can cause your heating system to overwork, putting out more energy than is actually needed. To ensure your vents’ efficiency, regularly clean vents by removing dust and debris. Also, move any furniture or items that are blocking your vents.
Find and Fix Leaks
Drafty windows and doors can cause nearly one-third of your home’s heat to escape. Before the cold winter air sets in, it’s important to find and fix any leaks that are draining your heating system and bank account. Things to look for leaks include cracks around ducts, window frames, doors, vents, and chimneys. You can often seal these with weatherstripping and caulking. For an expert’s advice, reach out to an HVAC professional like Mountain Heating & Cooling for an in-depth home inspection.
Now is better than later to start preparing your home for the winter. When the cold air and snowy weather hits, it can often be an inconvenience to make major changes that impact your HVAC system. To ensure your peace of mind and keep your energy bill low this winter, schedule an HVAC system check with Mountain Heating & Cooling. Our team has years of experience finding the perfect solutions for your home. We take the time to know your needs to make sure we pair the right system and model to your home. Give us a call to schedule your appointment today.