8 Money-Saving Winter HVAC Tips

1/13/21

Whether you made it a New Year’s resolution or not, most of us are always looking for ways to cut costs. That can mean cooking more meals at home, canceling unused memberships, or trying to reduce our monthly bills. If you’re looking to spend less, use these money-saving winter HVAC tips to get the most out of your heating system.


Maintain a Clean Air Filter

Providing a clean air filter for your furnace is the most important thing you can do to maintain efficiency and prevent issues. As debris collects and reduces air flow, the system is forced to work harder. In fact, a clogged air filter is the number one cause of HVAC system failure, so remember to clean or replace yours every month.


Embrace and Increase Humidity

Humidity measures the amount of water vapor in the air, and higher levels make the air feel warmer than it actually is. By adding moisture to the dry winter air with a humidifier, you can turn the thermostat down a few degrees and be comfortable.

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Reduce Ventilation Fan Use

Ventilation fans help with air circulation by removing cooking fumes or excess moisture from showering, but remember that humidity can help boost heating efficiency. In the winter, only use these fans as needed and be diligent about turning them off to help maintain humidity and comfort in the home.


Seal Your Home

Don’t let your heating system’s hard work go to waste by letting warm air sneak out of the home. Check around the exterior walls of your home, paying special attention near doors and windows, and seal any cracks, seams, or other leaks with caulk. And be sure to lock windows and doors to ensure a tight seal.

For additional protection against drafts and heat loss, cover windows with heavy-duty, heat-shrink plastic film/wrap on the inside. You can also use thick drapes for added insulation on extra-drafty windows. These coverings should be tight-fitting, sized to rest upon the windowsill or floor when closed, and hung as close to the glass as possible.


Keep Vents Open, Clean, and Clear

Closing vents in unused spaces to focus heat in higher-traffic rooms is a common misconception. In reality, properly sized HVAC systems are designed to distribute air evenly throughout the home. Be sure all vents are open and not blocked by furniture or other obstructions. Clean them regularly to prevent dust and other airborne irritants from being blown into the air.


Recycle Oven Heat

If you’re baking dinner or dessert, why let the heat already produced by your oven go to waste? Once you’re done cooking and have shut the oven off, leave the door slightly open so that warmth can be recycled in the home.


Practice Strategic Thermostat Management

Adjusting the thermostat impacts comfort as well as energy consumption/costs. Follow these key guidelines to optimize efficiency:

  • Turn the thermostat down overnight or when the house is empty. According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), you can save up to 10 percent on annual heating costs by dropping the thermostat 7 – 10 degrees for 8 hours a day. But be cautious of frozen pipes. It’s recommended to go no lower than 50 – 55 degrees when you’re away, and closer to 60 during extreme cold.
  • Don’t crank the thermostat. Thinking that turning the temp way up will heat the home faster is another common misconception. Doing so makes the furnace work harder and thus decreases its efficiency. Instead, gradually increase the temperature and allow your system to run at the optimal rate.
  • Consider a thermostat upgrade. Programmable thermostats let you pre-set temperatures for multiple days, eliminating the need to monitor and adjust it manually every day. The Nest Learning Thermostat goes even further, learning your preferences and schedule after just a few days and automatically adjusting itself accordingly.


Use Your Ceiling Fans

It may sound counterintuitive, but running ceiling fans during the winter will help keep warm air down where we can feel it – as long as you set them correctly. Remember that heat naturally rises and settles up by the ceiling; setting your fan(s) to rotate clockwise at a low speed pulls cool air up, creating an updraft that pushes warm air down along the walls and back to the floor.

Many of us decide to take a harder look at our spending in the new year, and cutting costs wherever possible is always a good idea. Harsh winters make home heating a must here in Minnesota, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be strategic about getting the most out of your system! Follow these money-saving winter HVAC tips to maximize efficiency and minimize utility bills in the winter.

From HVAC system repairs and annual maintenance to ductwork and furnace installation, trust the expert technicians at Stafford for all your heating and cooling service needs. Contact us today to learn more.

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