Keeping a home warm during the colder months of the year can prove to be expensive. With energy costs on the rise, many households are facing higher energy bills each year.
1. Find unorthodox heat sources. More efficient sources of heat are available, particularly if the home is in a milder climate or if the home can be broken into zones.
If you’re currently using electricity to heat your home a heat pump can help lower your electric bills by 50 percent. Heat pumps cost about $7,500, but will pay for themselves with reduced energy costs. A geothermal heat pump is the best and qualifies for tax credits. They should and can be paired with things like radiant heat flooring in specific areas of the home, as they are more effective at using energy than either baseboards or radiators and can help supplement the heat in smaller spaces.
Radiant heat costs between $6,000 and $14,000 if covering your whole home, but you can often install it in a single room for around $700. Paired with a heat pump, this will keep your home warm while significantly lowering your energy bills.
2. Add extra insulation. The amount of insulation that your home needs is directly tied to the type of heat source you have. In my past experiences I’ve seen many homes actually under-insulated for their climate and their heat source, resulting in their furnaces or radiators having to work harder than they need to and causing a spike in energy bills.
Insulating even a single room in your home can dramatically increase comfort and help you lower your thermostat, resulting in smaller bills. Adding insulation to your attic can also “hold the heat in” your home a lot longer.
3. Take care of your furnace. Furnaces are one of the most commonly used ways to heat large homes. I find that most home owners don’t maintain their furnace enough. Cleaning or changing filters is a must. If you don’t feel comfortable with furnace or AC maintenance you should contact a professional tradesman.
If your furnace is older than 10 years, replacing it can dramatically increase its efficiency. Older furnaces only run at around 50 percent efficiency, while newer models can reach rates of 90 percent, making them a much better choice for keeping monthly bills down. A new furnace costs around $3,000 to $5,000, but will pay for itself in lowered bills over time.
4. Make the switch to gas. If you’re currently heating your home with electricity or oil, you’re likely spending more each month than you would if you switched to natural gas. Gas furnaces are much more efficient than oil or electric heaters, which can save as much as 30 percent on energy bills each month.
5. Complete an energy audit. Your home may be losing a great deal of the energy you use to heat it, without you even realizing it. An energy audit—or a comprehensive look at how your home uses and loses energy—will help you find ways to make your home more efficient overall.
It takes some of money to make these changes. But studies demonstrates spending that money will save you big money down the road.