How to Save Money on Air Conditioning Heating Costs During Winter Time
- By: Cheli Scott
- Date: Oct 15 2022
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How to save money on air conditioning heating costs during winter time
Every year homeowners are faced with extra air conditioning heating costs related to winter heating. Oil, natural gas, and electricity costs fluctuate from year to year depending on a variety of conditions that can range from political to weather issues.
This year, US families are expected to pay around $1,025 for their winter heating costs, according to the National Energy Assistance Director’s Association. That’s a 17% increase since last winter, a huge increase! Experts say these are the highest prices in ten years.
The cost of heating your home is dependent on a number of factors including where you live, the size of your home, and how well your maintain your HVAC system. Your behavior and habits also affect how much you spend on heating your home as well as what type of heating you use.
In 2023, consumers are expected to spend $942 on heating costs if they use natural gas and as much as $1,300 if they use electricity. Home heating and cooling costs are usually the most expensive parts of your monthly utility bills.
As heating costs rise rapidly, you may be looking for ways to save money this winter season. However, there are some things you can do to give you a leg up on keeping costs down. We’ve collected some tips and tricks that might help you save some cash this winter on your home air conditioning.
Wait to turn up the thermostat
The simplest way to save money on heating costs is to not use your air conditioner. Dressing warmly indoors and cuddling up with some cozy blankets before you crank up the heat will save you money overall. Be sure to wear warm clothes and socks around the house so that you are not using the air conditioning unnecessarily.
If that isn’t enough, consider using a small, portable heating unit to heat one room while you are using it, instead of turning on the air conditioner. Small heaters use a small amount of electricity, if used for a short period of time, instead of your air conditioner.
You can also take advantage of the heat from the oven when you are cooking or baking. A fireplace is an additional way you can heat your home without turning on the air conditioning.
You can save as much 10% on heating costs by turning down the thermostat 7°-10°F for eight hours a day according to the US Department of Energy. If you work during the day, you can easily turn down your air conditioner while you are not there and save some money, while not noticing the difference. If you are at home during the day, you can try turning your air conditioner down at night when you are bundled up in bed.
Prepare for winter
Inspect your air conditioner, furnace, or heat pump
It’s a good idea to take some time to prepare your air conditioner, furnace, or heat pump for the coming colder months. This means checking your HVAC system to ensure that it is working at peak performance. It may seem like an inconvenience, but inspecting your equipment will give you an opportunity to get ahead of any issues.
Getting air conditioners, furnaces, or heat pumps inspected by a technician annually can save you money in the long run and a lot of heartache. You don’t want to find out there is a problem on a cold winter’s day.
A technician will be able to recommend the correct maintenance regimen and identify any problems with your air conditioner early. Heating and cooling equipment can be complicated, so an experienced professional can add valuable insights.
Inspect your home
The state of your air conditioner is not the only factor that affects how much you pay for heating in the winter. Your air conditioner may not be working efficiently if it has to constantly readjust the temperature because you are rapidly losing warm air. For that reason, this is also a good time to check your home for air leaks. Check your windows and doors and seal all seams and cracks that open to the outside.
During this time you should inspect your insulation to check if you need to beef it up for the winter months. You may want to add additional insulation to windows in the form of clear plastic film that will keep warm air trapped inside your home.
You should also inspect your air duct system to makes sure there are no blocked vents. Remove any socks, blankets, or other obstructions that could have accumulated and adjust the fins of the vent so that they are open.
You may want to have your duct work professionally cleaned if it hasn’t been done in a long time. HVAC systems have to work harder if air channels are blocked with dust. A clean system will optimize air flow and improve indoor air quality.
Combined, these actions will lessen the load on the air conditioner, furnace, or heat pump that make up your HVAC system.
Accessorize your home
Invest in some accessories for your home that will supplement the hard work that your air conditioning system is doing. Heavy curtains and rugs help insulate your home and keep it nice and toasty. Be sure to close the curtains at night to prevent heat from escaping.
Install a programable thermostat
A programable thermostat is a great investment for your HVAC system because it allows you to customize the time and temperature at which your heating system and air conditioner run.
In order to be most efficient, it is recommended by Energy.gov that you keep the temperature in your home around 68°F, but it is likely you will want to change that to fit your comfort. For that reason, it’s a good idea to adjust your programable thermostat around the hours you plan on being home to save the most money on your energy bill.
A programable thermostat will also reduce the urge to adjust the temperature. Homeowners often think that turning on the air conditioner extra high will heat or cool a room faster but that is a myth. Allowing your home to heat and cool on a programable schedule provides maximum efficiency for your air conditioner.
Energy Star Appliances
When it is time to buy a new air conditioner and heat pump, look for Energy Star appliances. Energy Star appliances are products that meet the Environmental Protection Agencies’ requirements for energy efficiency.
Energystar.gov offers lots of detailed consumer information on air conditioners and other appliances so you can avoid appliances with poor efficiency. It’s important to choose an Energy Star product because it will save you money and protect the environment by being energy efficient.
Maintain your air conditioner, furnace or heat pump
In order to save the most money and ensure the longest life of your HVAC system, proper maintenance of your air conditioner, furnace, or heat pump are essential. Each product will come with its own guidelines for providing proper maintenance and if followed your appliances should live a long life.
Generally air conditioners need only a little maintenance. Refer to your manufacturer’s guide for detailed instructions on your unique air conditioner, but usually you need to change your air filter once a month, keep air conditioning coils clean, and check the fins to make sure they are not blocking air flow. You may also need to lubricate the moving parts of your air conditioner and replace refrigerant as needed. Keep an ear out for any strange sounds that might indicate a problem.
Heat pumps are also fairly simple to maintain. Make sure to clean your heat pumps’ filters regularly and remove any obstructions that could block airflow. Things like outdoor furniture and storage can crowd your heat pump if they are placed too close, so be sure to move them at least two feet away.
If you have a furnace it is even more important that you keep your equipment properly maintained. Gas furnaces release some carbon monoxide that can make you sick if your furnace is not working properly. Keep your furnace clear of blockages like dust by sweeping it regularly and replacing filters around once a month.
Keeping your air conditioning system maintained will save you a hefty repair bill and may extend the life of your units. It is also important for your safety. Broken or improperly maintained air conditioning systems can cause sickness and fires.
Let nature do some of the work instead of your central air conditioner
During the day, you can take advantage of sunlight to heat your home and save additional money on your home heating bill. Opening the windows during the day and letting natural sunlight heat your home will also cut down on the wear and tear of your heat pump or furnace by giving your air conditioning a break.
You will get the most heat from south facing windows, so be sure to open those windows during the day. Don’t forget to close them again at night.
Don’t forget your fireplace
It’s likely that you will want to use your fireplace during the winter, but if you have a chimney you could be losing a lot of heat. An open flue is like leaving a window open while the air conditioning is on and is a waste of energy. Make sure to close your flue when you are not using your fireplace to keep the warm air in your home from escaping. This can help lower your air conditioning unit’s load.
Saving money in the winter time
In order to save the most money on your heating bill during the winter months you will likely need to take a multipronged approach. You can use these tips and tricks to keep your home warm this winter and also keep energy costs low.
While there are many things you can do yourself to keep your central air conditioner working at maximum efficiency, it is always good to ask an expert if you need help. An air conditioning contractor, like one of our team at bhild, can help you with any unusual situations you might come across. Call us today, or fill out our form here for a free estimate on HVAC services today!