When Old Man Winter makes a sweep down South, Alabama can start to feel chilly. Most homeowners agree, having a working heater as a source of warmth is considered essential. Unfortunately, heating bills can cause energy costs to skyrocket for homeowners. If you have been feeling the sting of higher electric bills, allow this information to help you improve the performance of your furnace.
Why Are Energy Costs So Expensive in Winter?
There are multiple factors to consider when accounting for the high cost of electricity during the winter. Some of these factors are common sense, but others may be a bit surprising.
- Weather changes lead homeowners to turn their thermostats higher than normal because they want to feel a soothing warmth from the cold. When the winter months come in, and nighttime temperatures drop lower than normal, your heater could work overtime to keep up with the thermostat settings.
- Many people do not think about winter weather increasing their laundry. During the colder months of the year, people are wearing more layers and using more blankets, which equals increased laundry. There is also the factor of drying wet gloves, socks, and hats in the dryer. The more your dryer is operating, the higher the energy costs.
- If you own an older home, poor insulation could drive up the costs. It is harder for a heater to work effectively when cold air drafts are coming in and allowing heated air to move out. Homeowners who feel cold drafts coming from windows and doors are more likely to see increased energy costs all winter long.
- Holiday decorations can also pack a punch to your electric bill each January. Although those twinkling lights are beautiful, they add to the costs you will incur.
- Time changes can also affect energy expenditure. When the sun goes down much faster, you are going to have more light usage.
An Old Heater Could Be to Blame
If you have an old heater in your Alabama home, chances are, higher than normal energy costs are common. Many homeowners do not even realize they are wasting energy by attempting to heat their homes with inefficient systems.
Older heaters simply cannot keep up with newer models. Many homeowners are surprised to learn it was normal to only have 80% efficiency in a system as few as ten years ago. Today, homeowners in Alabama can easily find new heaters that offer 95% efficiency and higher.
When you have higher efficiency, this means more of the energy used is converted to heat, which lessens the costs of keeping your home nice and cozy. When homeowners pay their electric bill each month, they are paying for all the energy their home used. If the vast majority is being wasted, homeowners can find themselves paying more than they should.
It is important to note that an old heat pump could increase energy expenditure because of the moving parts becoming slower. Slower-moving parts are going to require much more energy to operate.
Homeowners with older systems are going to find themselves paying more to operate the moving components of their system, such as the fan, blower, and motor. Because of slower-moving parts, homeowners often find Alabama’s chill will lead to cool spots in various areas of their homes.
Upgrading from an older system to a new one can dramatically improve efficiency and cut your costs immensely. For many, new systems begin to pay for themselves in a short amount of time.
Signs Your Old System Needs Replacing
Multiple signs can warn homeowners there is a problem with their old heater system. On average, heaters are going to last about fifteen to twenty years. Once they begin to reach the end of their lifespans, homeowners in Alabama need to call AirNow Home Services. Should you notice any of the following, it is time to shop for a new system.
- If a heater is older than fifteen years and is exhibiting signs of problems, it is time for a new one. The longer a homeowner waits to have their old system replaced, the more money they will waste.
- When a system is making strange noises during operation, it is time to consider a replacement. Loud noises are not normal and should never be ignored. Often, these are caused by parts that have become loose or damaged. Homeowners may hear screeching, humming, clicking, popping, and rattling.
- Have you noticed soot on the registers in your home? If so, this is a telltale sign there are problems with the heater system. Soot can eventually begin to cause damage to flooring and furniture. This is a sign that a heater system is producing too much carbon dioxide and needs replacing.
- Higher energy and repair costs are also common when a system has reached the end of its lifespan. If a heater system is breaking down more often than running normally, then it needs to be replaced.
- If a gas system flame is yellow instead of blue, this is a time to call AirNow right away. An efficient system is going to produce a blue flame always. If the flame is yellow, this is an indicator the system is producing too much carbon monoxide, and it could rise to dangerous levels.
Ignoring the signs above will only lead to increased repair issues and money. By seeking a new heater system in the early stages of its breaking down, there will be less wasted money.
Benefits of Upgrading to a New System
Upgrading to a new system costs money, but it offers many benefits for homeowners living in the state of Alabama. Consider the following.
- Homeowners who upgrade to a new system will not have to worry about repair costs. New electric heat systems usually come with at least a two-year warranty.
- New systems operate at the peak of their efficiency, saving homeowners money on energy costs.
- A new system is also going to make a home much more comfortable than an older system that does not heat efficiently. A warmer home feels so comforting on those cold Alabama nights.
- Newer systems offer much quieter operations. Older systems get noisier by the day and can become annoying.
- These systems offer better airflow throughout a home, producing warmth much faster than older, outdated systems.
- Purchasing a new heater also cuts down on a homeowner’s carbon footprint because new systems are better for the environment.
Homeowners who are interested in learning more about having a new heater system installed should contact AirNow Home Services right away. We will help you choose the perfect system to keep your home warm and cozy all winter long.
Saving Money on Heat This Winter
Instead of being forced to spend an arm and a leg on heat this winter, some tips can cut the costs and ensure your home is nice and cozy. It takes a concerted effort, but you can soon see your costs dropping.
- Keeping your thermostat set a little lower will help to cut energy costs by as much as 3% per degree. While this may not seem like much savings, it adds up over time. It is wise to keep the thermostat much lower at night and rely on blankets for warmth.
- On sunny days, try opening the curtains on south-facing windows. Allowing sunshine to come streaming in will help warm your home without the system running as frequently. Take advantage of natural warmth as much as possible.
- Homeowners with fireplaces need to be careful about leaving their chimney flue open when not in use. Leaving the flue open is the same as leaving a window up in the middle of winter. You are letting a lot of cold air in and compromising the system’s ability to heat the home.
- While it may seem counterproductive to run a ceiling fan in the dead of winter, it can actually help keep a home much warmer. Setting the ceiling fans on low will help air to rise to the ceiling and then push warm air downward, warming the room effectively.
- The vents in a home cannot move air if they are blocked. Keep all vents unblocked. Furniture, clothing, and other items can partially or fully block a register and prevent proper airflow.
- Covering windows with heavy curtains can help to prevent drafts. Homeowners can also use caulk to fill in the cracks or cover their windows in heavy-duty plastic. Windows are the number one cause of cold drafts inside a home.
- If you have unused rooms in a home, there is no reason to heat them. Instead, shut the vent in that room and keep the door closed. Doing these two steps can save a lot of money on energy costs for homeowners.
- Changing the air filters is an important task for homeowners. Not only does it prolong the life of a heater, but it also helps to cut down on the cost of operation because it makes the system work more efficiently.
The above tips can make a big difference in the way your system works. The more efficiently a system operates, the lesser the energy costs. By taking the above steps, you can see improvements in your electric bills.
Maintenance Keeps Your Heater Working Efficiently
Besides replacing older systems and using the above tips, it is also important homeowners maintain their systems properly. With AirNow’s maintenance packages, homeowners in Alabama can rest assured their systems will operate at the peak of efficiency, allowing for great savings to be experienced.
Heater maintenance involves carefully checking each of the components of the system, tightening connections, lubricating parts, and performing any repairs, as needed. The following are some steps involved in professional heater maintenance.
- The vent system and all intake grills are examined for signs of damages. Any blockages are removed.
- The heat exchanger is checked for any signs of disrepair.
- The blower is examined, and any debris is removed.
- All electrical connections are carefully tightened, and any damaged wiring or electrical components are replaced.
- The blower motor is checked to ensure it maintains a proper amperage.
- The burner and flame sensor are both checked and tested for proper operation.
- All moving parts in the system are lubricated, to prevent wear and tear damage.
- The air filter is cleaned or replaced if needed.
- The startup cycle of the system will be checked to ensure everything works properly.
- The safety features of the heater system will all be inspected and tested.
Although a homeowner can undoubtedly change their air filter with ease, most of the tasks involved in a full maintenance appointment should be carried out by professional HVAC technicians.
Homeowners who have an oil or gas heater system may require additional maintenance steps than those listed above. With a full inspection and maintenance appointment, homeowners in Alabama can rest assured their heater systems will operate safely and efficiently, helping to save them money on electric costs.
Learn More Today
We offer all the HVAC services homeowners in Alabama need for their heaters. If your old system can no longer seem to keep up with demands, it is time to consider a replacement.
Today’s modern systems work more efficiently than ever before. If your system is not outdated, maintenance can help to improve its efficiency and keep it working at its prime, for as long as possible. Begin using these tips, and you can soon see major improvements in the costs of running your heater in the winter months of the year.
Schedule an appointment right away, to have your system checked. With AirNow’s maintenance and repair services, homeowners in Alabama will no longer have to worry about skyrocketing energy costs during the winter. We will give you peace of mind your home will be safely heated.
AirNow Home Services is a full-service HVAC company that is dedicated to providing homeowners in Millbrook, Montgomery, Wetumpka, Prattville, and surrounding areas with the HVAC services they need. With a full commitment to customer service, we have become the most trusted HVAC company in the area.