Heating and air for your home is a necessary expense that’s important in any home budget. But if you’re noticing your heating and AC bills are higher than usual, or are higher than anticipated, that can be a symptom of a bigger problem. To diagnose and fix the problem, here are a few quick things to check – some can be done yourself, while some will require an HVAC contractor to make a proper assessment.
Damaged or Weak Insulation
Proper insulation can reduce your heating and cooling costs by as much as 40%. But insulation doesn’t last forever. Moisture, pest infestations, or simple wear and tear over time can break insulation down and make it less effective. That’s when it’s time to replace it and keep your home comfortable.
If you’re also noticing your home is heating unevenly or is more drafty than usual in addition to your higher heating costs, that increases the chances that you have outdated insulation at the root of your problem.
If your home uses a forced-air system, leaks in the ductwork can reduce your system’s effectiveness and leave you living in an uncomfortable house that’s expensive to heat and cool. Luckily, most people can check this themselves. Most ductwork is accessible from the attic or basement. Pop in and take a look. Listen and feel for leaks.
However, it can be hard to completely rule out the possibility of leaks with an untrained eye. If you’ve tried everything else and still haven’t found a solution, it’s time to call in a pro. A trained HVAC contractor can check your ductwork more thoroughly than you can. And if necessary, they can fix it. That’s not something you want to DIY or leave to get worse.
An Outdated, Inefficient Furnace
Most furnaces last about 25 years. If your unit is getting old, it’s time to think about upgrading it. Sure, it’s a big upfront cost, but think about it this way: If your current unit is 70% efficient, replacing it with a 96%-efficiency unit can save you up to 30% on your energy costs. It’s an easy way to save money and reduce your energy footprint. And since it’s a major repair, you won’t have to worry about replacing it for a long time afterward.
Always Keeping Your Unit Running
If left alone, your HVAC system will run 24/7, even when you’re asleep or not at home. That’s why investing in a programmable thermostat can save you a ton of money in energy costs. A programmable system lets you keep the air off (or lower) when you’re out during the day and while you’re asleep. Why pay for heating and air when you’re not even home or awake to enjoy it?
No one wants to spend more on heating and air than they have to. By covering your bases with a few home maintenance checks (and a few upgrades when needed), you can keep your home comfortable without breaking the bank.