Your furnace is one of those things that you don’t think about much until you actually need it. Unfortunately, by that point, you don’t have much wiggle room when it comes to fixing problems. Maintenance is something that needs to be done year round, particularly now that you can expect higher heating expenditures this winter.
While the amount of the increase will depend on the type of fuel you use, it’s estimated that over 90% of homes in the U.S. are going to pay more this year just to keep their homes livable.
If you do decide to replace your heating system, fuel is a big concern. At the moment, about one-half of U.S. households use natural gas and changes in energy prices are dependent on the changes in fuel prices. Natural gas is one of the biggest changes, with a whopping 14% increase. Overall, you can expect a 13% increase in heating costs this winter, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration at http://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.cfm?id=13311.
Some older furnaces can be maintained well enough that they don’t waste too much energy. However, most furnaces built before this decade are less than energy friendly. You can learn to maintain your system on your own, but most people find it beneficial to hire professionals in to take care of this task.
Filters should be changed on a regular basis. This is a simple way to increase efficiency, but many home owners neglect it or only change the filter once a year when cold weather hits.
It’s also important to double check that your thermostat is working correctly. If it is not working, you will likely hear the furnace turning on and off more often than is necessary.
Vents and tubing should be cleared and cleaned regularly, as well. Blockages and debris are not only bad for health, they can also reduce the effectiveness of the heating or cooling system.
Choosing a more efficient heater means lower energy costs. It may be a good idea to look into replacing your existing system. Technology is improving rapidly as consumers realize the importance of having a high efficiency heating system. You will find that the more modern designs will cut costs drastically. In the long run, it could be easier on your budget to replace your furnace or heating system than to continue using the old one.
Whether you use a natural gas furnace or electric heating system, expect costs to go up. However, you can save money with proper maintenance and more efficient systems. There is no need to pay more than is strictly necessary.