Inflation: What it means for your heating costs this winter
Home heating bills are expected to rise significantly this year, as inflation drives up costs of natural gas, heating oil, propane, and electricity. The federal Energy Information Administration found that households will spend 54% more for propane, 43% more for heating oil, 30% more for natural gas, and 6% more for electric heating. As you might expect, this has caused homeowners to look for ways to save on energy.
In fact, faced with this increase in cost, a recent Modernize survey found that over 70% of homeowners are “somewhat concerned” to “very concerned” about the impact on their budget, with over 50% of homeowners stating they would take at least one measure to mitigate costs.
There are several considerations for homeowners to help lessen the impacts of these rising costs. While this list focuses on cost-saving strategies to take during winter, there are solutions that homeowners can take year-round to improve their home’s energy efficiency.
Inspect and Replace Insulation
Your house tends to lose warmth at the top. Repairing or adding insulation in your attic will help keep your home comfortable and is one of the most cost-effective home improvements options to save on energy.
While homeowners can install insulation themselves, we recommend using a professional for optimal installation.
Inspect and Replace Heating Units
Having a comprehensive HVAC winter prep checklist each year is important to keeping it running right and saving you money. According to Energy.gov, HVAC systems account for roughly 35-40% of a homeowner’s energy use—making it a substantial part of your home’s energy cost.
In addition, have your heating system inspected by a professional. Keep in mind that most HVAC professionals are very busy this time of year and booking weeks, if not months, in advance.
Sometimes, a system might need a replacement to properly handle the winter months and minimize utility costs. Consider replacing your unit if:
- Your unit is more than 10 years old.
- Repairs cost more than half of the unit.
- It’s difficult to regulate the temperature of your home or in certain rooms—this can be a sign of faulty or failing equipment, duct problems, or insulation issues.
- Strange smells, noises, dust, or humidity are detected.
DIY Tips to Save on Energy
While insulation and HVAC systems should be inspected and repaired by professionals, there are several DIY strategies for homeowners looking to save on energy this winter:
- Lower the water temperature to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. This provides plenty of hot water and can save up to 22% on energy bills.
- Make sure all air ducts are well-sealed and insulated.
- Change your air filter.
- Consider upgrading windows from screens to storm windows for better insulation.
- Check all window and door frames for gaps, then fill holes with caulk or weather stripping to prevent heat loss. Here’s how to find gaps:
- Turn off the heat to eliminate air movement from the vents.
- Light a candle and take it around to each window.
- Hold the candle still. If the flame flickers, you have a draft near that window.
- Rotate ceiling fans counterclockwise. This produces a gentle updraft to force warm air down.
- Invest in heavy curtains to keep heat inside and the cold out.
With inflation causing heating costs to increase this winter, don’t get caught using more energy than you need. Contact the pros at Modernize to get started on your winter HVAC, insulation, and window projects today.
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