The Most Expensive Time of the Year: Saving Money on Heating Your Stockton Home

saving money on heatingIt’s fortunate for us here in the Valley that the cool, wet months are so few–because, believe it or not, it actually costs more to heat a home than cool it! Despite our use of AC much of the year, California’s mild winters mean we’re saving money on heating that the rest of the country has to pay. That said, if you’re interested in cutting your energy bill, there are things you can do–from insulating the home, repairing faulty systems, or upgrading to new ones–that will lower that heating bill and improve your comfort all year round!

Tune-Up and Repair First

A thirty-point tune-up on the furnace is a great place to start when it comes to lowering your heating bill. A system that runs correctly and is in good shape will cost less than one that’s doing its job inefficiently, and it will be less likely to malfunction, often resulting in fewer repairs.[1. https://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=heat_cool.pr_maintenance] Tune-ups are a good way to spot issues as well: a technician will look at your furnace and help you figure out what’s a problem, and what’s normal operation.

If your furnace has a problem, whether pointed out by an HVAC tech or one you noticed on your own, it’s important to repair it right away. Problems cost money to fix, but they’re also often factors in high utility bills (If you’ve noticed a dramatic change in your utility bill from one month to the next, but you’re running the furnace in the same way as ever, your system may be broken in a way that’s not otherwise apparent).

Repairs are also important because of how often small problems become big ones if left unchecked. These are the cases where you’ll really save money by getting it done as soon as you can. It’s a lot easier (and cheaper) to clear debris from an intake vent immediately than it is to wait months and then replace burned-up parts! We had a client once who knew their furnace had a problem, but since it still ran, they didn’t want to call someone to look at it. After a while, they finally called us in–and by that time they needed some serious repairs that could’ve been avoided.

Saving Money on Heating by Keeping Heat In

How well insulated is your home? Chances are, a tube of caulk and some insulation replacement could make saving money on heating easy. Your house may be leaking hot air, and that means lost heat and lost money. We’ve had clients whose bedrooms were freezing, even with the heat full-blast. Part of that was a lack of home zoning, and part was a badly insulated building. The same is true for your ducting and vents–well-sealed ducts will carry hot air much better than poorly-sealed ones.[2. https://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=home_improvement.hm_improvement_ducts]

If you’re really concerned about heat loss, you may want to take more serious measures, like window replacement. If your windows are single-paned and old, you’ll find that professionally-installed double-pane windows do a much better job of keeping in heat–even vinyl-framed models are great at keeping heat in.[3. https://www.energyguide.com/info/window2.asp] And that’s important, because windows are often the biggest source of heat loss in a home.[4. https://www.e-education.psu.edu/egee102/node/2017] This is also a great investment for summer, when you’ll find it’s easier to keep the home cool with good insulation, sealing, and windows.

Saving Money with New Systems

It seems like we’ve talked a lot about replacing your old furnace this winter, but it can make a huge difference. It’s worth it to try other things first, but that old furnace is only going to work so well–even with pros like us working on it! There are a lot of benefits to replacing your furnace a bit early, but the most important one is that you’ll get to choose when to spend the money. If you wait until it dies on you, you may end up with an expensive replacement that can’t wait, at a time when it’s hard to pay for. And while there are usually financing options available, it’s best to plan ahead for that kind of expense.

Newer furnaces are incredible, and they work so much better than even last decade’s models. If the rest of your HVAC system is set-up right, a new furnace can mean great heat delivery for less money every month than your old model.[5. https://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=heat_cool.pr_checklist_consumers] In addition, newer furnaces have much longer lifespans than furnaces of past decades and tend to be more reliable if serviced regularly and correctly.

If you are intrigued by new technology but not quite sold on a new furnace, we understand. It can be a big step to take, and there’s always cost to consider. For you, we might suggest a programmable thermostat that can track your habits and help you save money by only heating the house when it’s appropriate. These devices are quick to install and easy to learn to use, and you might be amazed at how much they can save you on your heating bill while still keeping you comfortable.[6. https://www.energystar.gov/products/heating_cooling/programmable_thermostats] So if you want to begin the year right, let Bell Brothers get you started saving money on heating bills.