Like many people who live in cold climates, you likely look forward to spring weather all winter. However, if you have been looking forward to warmer weather because your heating bills were sky-high all winter instead of just dreaming of spending more time outdoors, then it is important to tackle your heating system problems now before next fall arrives and you begin experiencing the same problem.
While there are many causes of persistent high home heating bills, such as lack of proper home insulation or drafty windows, if your bills suddenly soared during the course of just one year, then the problem likely lies in your HVAC system.
Unless your furnace has simply reached the end of its lifespan, then taking the following two simple steps could drastically lower your heating bills next winter without a lot of hassle.
1. Clean and Lubricate Your Furnace or Have it Professionally Cleaned
It may sound too simple, but the drastic rise in your home heating bills could have simply been due to a dirty furnace. Dust and debris build within your gas furnace little by little every day, and this dust and debris not only causes it to work much harder than it has to, which can cause your winter heating bills to skyrocket, but it also poses a fire hazard.
By having your furnace cleaned now instead of in the fall, you won't have to worry if cold temperatures arrive early in the fall and then having to turn off your furnace to let it cool and then have it cleaned when you really need it.
There are 13 steps to cleaning your furnace properly, and it must be done correctly or you risk damaging some of your furnace's very delicate parts. You will also need a special 1/2-inch vacuum attachment, a socket and ratchet set, a furnace cleaning brush, an emery cloth, metal duct tape, and a lightweight machine oil (to lubricate the motor bearings).
Even if you are typically handy around the house, it is best to have a professional clean your furnace if it hasn't been cleaned in years due to the large amount of dust and debris likely inside of your furnace.
In addition, when a furnace cleaning professional cleans your furnace, they can also inspect it to make sure that all parts are in good condition; they may find that you need a small repair that will make your furnace much more energy efficient next winter. You can pay close attention to how they clean it, so you can feel more confident that you can clean it without damaging it next spring.
2. Have your HVAC Ducts Sealed
As you likely know, both your furnace and your home's central air conditioner rely on a network of ducts to circulate warm or cool air they create throughout your home. However, you may not realize that leaky ducts are very common, and according to Energystar.gov, the average homeowners loses up to 30 percent of the cooled and heated air their home heating and cooling systems use energy to create through duct leaks and holes before the air ever reaches the rooms of a home.
Leaky ducts cannot only cause your home heating and cooling bills to skyrocket, but they can also cause uneven temperatures throughout the home (if a leak is near a room, it will not receive as much cool or warm air as the other rooms in the home), and even jeopardize the health and safety of your family; while leaks in ducts let warmed or cooled air out of the ducts, the holes in the ducts also let toxic gasses from indoor appliances, dust, and even mildew spores into the ducts, where they are then circulated throughout your home.
There are some DIY duct sealing products on the market, but they are only helpful if you know exactly where your duct leaks are. To see the highest impact on your home energy bills, you should have a professional inspect your ducts for leaks and holes and then seal them thoroughly to make sure your cooling and heating bills are as low as possible year-round.
If your home heating bills skyrocketed this past winter, then follow these two steps to not only make sure they are as low as possible next winter, but also to ensure your cooling bills this summer don't also rise drastically. To learn more, contact a furnace cleaning company.