We hear you! Each time colder temps arrive, usually in late November, and home heating systems turn on, utility bills start to rise. Of course, you expect some rise in those bills after the mild temperatures of fall that don’t put much stress on the heater or the AC. And you’re probably already familiar with what that rise in the bills looks like.
But what if those bills have risen much higher than you expect? When the utility bill for the first full month of heating season arrives and it seems bigger than anticipated, you might think something is wrong.
And you may be right! Let’s take a look at some of the possible causes for steep heating costs this season.
ONE: You’ve got the thermostat set too high
We’ll start simple: if you changed the way you set your thermostat (possibly because you have a new programmable one, or you’ve delegated responsibility to someone else), then you may be setting it higher than optimal. During winter, aim to lower the thermostat as far as is comfortable. We recommend 68°F during the day when people are awake. Add an extra layer of clothes to help out.
TWO: The heating system is short-cycling
Short-cycling is an issue that can affect all types of heating systems, such as gas and electric furnaces and heat pumps. It means the heater is shutting off before completing its regular heating cycle, then turning back on a short time later. This repeated starting and stopping not only places excess wear on the heater components (often leading to an early replacement), it drives up heating costs. There are several possible sources for short-cycling, and you’ll want a professional to look into the problem.
THREE: Damaged, leaky ductwork
This is a problem we see all too often. The ductwork of a ventilation system can easily develop small air leaks over time. Even small leaks can make a significant difference, causing up to 30% of the air moving through the ducts to escape into closed-off areas of a house. That’s air you’ve already paid to heat—and it’s going right to waste. We recommend scheduling professional duct testing to find out if duct leaks are creating trouble for your HVAC system. Sealing the ducts will lower your bills and remove cold spots from around the house.
FOUR: A clogged air filter left in place
Before winter arrives, always change the air filter for your furnace or heat pump. The filter becomes congested with dust and lint over a period of one to three months, and the restriction it places on airflow when it gets this way causes the fan motor to overwork. You not only need to replace the clogged filter, but remember to replace it regularly through the rest of the winter.
FIVE: Heating repair need not otherwise specified
Almost any type of malfunction in a heating system will cause the heater to drain more power than normal to operate. High heating bills are often a warning that something, somewhere, has gone wrong. Always trust a professional to look into your heating in Raleigh, NC to find what it is—and how to fix it.