Current estimates point to home heating costs as the largest single utilities cost for most Canadian homeowners.
However, the reason for this isn’t as straightforward as you might think. Yes, it is true that Canada can sustain some pretty brutal weather in the winter. But with the right heating system that is operating at peak efficiency, you can control your home heating costs by as much as half.
If your heating system is poorly matched to the size of your space or has fallen into disrepair, however, prepare to spend a tidy sum to keep warm this winter.
In this article, we introduce you to three reasons you might be spending far more than you should be on heating your home, as well as how to remedy this.
3 Culprits That Contribute to High Home Heating Costs
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) estimates that the average household will spend between $700 and $1,700 on home heating costs in any given winter. The range relates to both type of fuel (gas, propane, electricity, oil) and the state of the home’s heating system.
While you may not always have full control over the type of fuel you need and have access to, there are other ways to control your heating costs. In particular, there are three main components that can cause a heating appliance to pull more energy than it is designed to need to operate effectively.
These components are:
- the heat source itself: Furnace, heat pump, boiler, etc.
- the heat distribution system: Air ducts (forced air), radiant, radiators, baseboards, etc.
- the control system: Programmable thermostat
If any one of these components is poorly maintained or (in the case of your programmable thermostat) not being used at all, you can expect your heating bill to systematically creep upwards.
Below are three tips for how to save on your heating bill.
Just taking the time to program your thermostat can save you up to 10 percent on your monthly heating bill.
The goal here is to lower the heat at times when it is least necessary, such as when the house is empty and at night, when everyone is bundled up in blankets.
Then you can maximize your heat use at times when everyone is home and active, such as in the mornings while getting ready for school and work and in the evenings during dinner and family time.
Heat distribution system
Cleaning your indoor air ducts and filters can save you between 25 and 40 percent on your energy costs.
Reducing the wear and tear on your heating system as it tries to force warm air through a duct system clogged with debris and out through an equally clogged filter results in savings. The cleaner and emptier the conduits are, the more easily the air can be routed efficiently to its final destinations.
Even for systems that do not use air ducts to conduct heat, a simple buildup of dirt and debris in the system itself can result in cost increases of up to 22 percent.
Having your current system routinely inspected and maintained or upgrading an outdated system to an Energy Star-certified furnace or boiler can save you between 5 and 15 percent.
Unless your heater is quite old or has been poorly maintained in the past, the average inspection and maintenance call is a simple, quick procedure. The goal is to safety-check your system against fire hazards, do a basic cleaning, make minor repairs and adjustments, and do a thermostat test for temperature accuracy.
You can also save up to 20 percent on labor and parts by opting into an annual Energy Saver tune-up and protection plan.
By taking charge of the elements you can control—namely, your thermostat, heat distribution network, and central system—you can look forward to spending significantly less on energy and repairs over the life of your heating system.
Calculating Your Cost Savings
Thanks to the Department of Energy, we know that most homeowners can anticipate spending between $700 and $1,700 on home heating costs. So let’s average that out and say you spend $1,200 on home heating during the winter season.
Just by using your programmable thermostat, you can put $120 (10 percent) back in your pocket.
By having your air duct system cleaned, you can save between $300 and $480 (25 percent to 40 percent).
If you upgrade to a new Energy Star-Certified heating system, you can look forward to saving anywhere from $60 to $180 (5 percent to 15 percent).
Add all of these savings together and you are looking $480 to $780.
Can you think of something you’d like to use all that saved cash for? If so, all it takes is a quick phone call and about an hour of your time to schedule the maintenance that will free up a healthy chunk of your hard-earned cash.
Best of all, now is a great time to schedule your heating inspection and maintenance, before temperatures really start the downward plunge.
Contact Shipton’s Heating & Cooling Today
Here at Shipton’s Heating & Cooling, we have nearly a century of expertise helping our residential and commercial clients optimize their heating systems to save the most on winter energy bills while maintaining home heating safety.
Our affordable inspection and maintenance service ensures your heating system will be able to operate at peak energy efficiency all winter long. And if your heating system has long since passed its prime years, we can work with you to find the most affordable and efficient new system for the size of your space and heating needs and get it installed properly for maximum savings.