Fuel prices are rising as temperatures are starting to drop in the Chattanooga area. The U.S. Energy Information Administration predicts heating oil prices will rise 43%, natural gas 30% and electricity 6% compared to last winter.
However, there are steps homeowners can take to keep heating costs down.
To keep your HVAC working properly, have it serviced regularly. Routine maintenance can catch small problems early and prevent more costly repairs down the road.
You should also change filters regularly every couple of months – or monthly if you have indoor pets.
Now is a great time to install a programmable or smart thermostat. The device can be programmed to automatically lower the heat when you’re away from home or sleeping. That can save you $50 or more per year in heating and cooling costs, Energy Star reports.
Remember, every degree you drop your thermostat results in savings, so layer up on clothes and add an extra blanket to the bed.
Take a few minutes to walk through your home and check that your registers are not blocked by furniture or other objects. This will make your HVAC run less efficiently and increase heating bills.
Check your windows, doors, attic and basement for leaks and patch them with weather-stripping or caulk. If you have a fireplace, close the damper when you’re not burning a fire.
Another simple way to save on heating costs is by opening curtains and blinds during the day to let sunlight help warm your rooms. And if you bake, turn the oven off when you finish and leave the door open so the warm air heats your kitchen.
Take advantage of ceiling fans in your home by reversing the fans so the blades turn clockwise in the winter. This will help distribute warm air throughout the rooms.
If it’s time for your heating and air to be serviced, or for any home improvement needs, visit the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga’s member directory at www.HBAGC.net to find a list of qualified, local professionals who can help you.