G & R Heating and Cooling Logo

Save Money On Utilities During A Chicagoland Winter


With winter now fully upon us, just about everyone in Northern Illinois and Chicagoland has turned their furnace on, trying to stay warm and comfortable. With the added expense of running your heating system more often, the question turns to how you can save money on your utility bill. While making sure that your heating system is running at peak efficiency is one of the best ways to help control your heating bill, this is just one part of keeping it under control during these cold Chicago winters. G & R Heating and Cooling services — based in Gilberts, IL and serving a wide area throughout Chicagoland — has been providing outstanding HVAC repair services for years. Because of our extensive knowledge in this industry we’ve learned a few tips along the way that we would like to pass on to help you keep your heating bill under control!

Get Organized

Creating a plan of action for the things that need to be done to get your Chicagoland home ready for colder temperatures is a clever way to make sure that all the tasks get done before the really cold weather hits. Look around your home and document the obvious things that would allow unwanted cold temperatures into your home and put them on a list with a date for completion. In addition, we recommend having a “family meeting” to discuss preventative measures. These little things can be done day by day to help keep the heat inside your home… and the cold out! These items can include keeping the doors closed and closely monitoring the thermostat and its settings. Sometimes, these “little things” are a pretty big deal; leaving the door open while you bring in groceries can bring the temperature of the main area down 5 to 8° within just a few minutes!

Have Your Heating System Inspected And Cleaned

Making sure that your filters are replaced and blowers are free of debris is an essential and necessary step to getting your heating system ready for winter. If your heating system is over 10 years old, we recommend that you have one of our professional HVAC techs perform a furnace tune up. This includes inspecting the wiring, burners and combustion chamber to make sure that there’s no damage that could cause you expensive heating repairs down the road. Once every 2 years, it is a good idea to have your vents cleaned out as well. This can help cut down on allergens that can lead to mold and fungal build-up in the ductwork.

TIP: Keep your heating vents uncovered by furniture and clutter, too! These items can keep the convection principle — which helps to keep many Chicagoland homes warm, most likely yours too! — to function properly.

Seek Out Drafts

Drafty doors and windows are one of the most common reasons Chicagoland homes don’t heat as efficiently as they could. The gaps that develop as a home settles over the years can create air leaks which allow the cold air to come rushing right into your home. You might think that a little crack around the windows or doors is no big deal. But, due to pressure density variations, when it is cooler outside and warmer inside, cold air can come rapidly rushing through even the smallest crack. For homes equipped with optional storm windows, install them at the first cold snap instead of screens. Storm windows can help insulate the windows from the cold air.

TIP: Replacing rubber door thresholds and shimming hinges is an affordable way to help with your heating utility bill this winter. Also, keep your windows locked — doing this can help create a firmer seal between the window and its frame, retaining more warm air in the home.

Inspect Your Fireplace (If You Have One)

For many homes in our communities, fireplaces can be a source of major cold air leaks, despite being a nice addition to a family room. Older fireplace flues (or fireplaces not properly maintained) may not close completely, which can leave an open draft. Because heat rises, a fireplace chimney is a natural and easy escape route for the heat in your home. This can make your heater run longer — and work harder and less efficiently — to maintain a comfortable temperature. We recommend getting a chimney balloon that inflates to insulate, filling the gaps inside your chimney. (If you actively use the fireplace, make sure to take it out before you light up the fireplace, of course!) You can usually pick up a chimney balloon at Home Depot or Lowe’s for an affordable price.

TIP: Research has demonstrated that using a fireplace — while heating the immediate room — can pull the temperature down in the other rooms of your home. When operating a fireplace, be sure to close all of the doors to the bathroom and bedrooms to help the temperature differential from pulling the temperature down in those other rooms.

Just A Couple Of Degrees Can Make All The Difference…

The thermostat is the control center of your heating system. It allows you to set the degree of temperature for your comfort level. By adjusting the temperature down just a couple of degrees, you can save big on your heating bill! Most heating systems running efficiently can save 5% per degree down over an eight hour period of time. Most people do not notice a change in a degree or two; especially if it’s done over a period of time. For example: lower the temperature from 74° to 72° and then two weeks later lower to 70°.

Get A Smart Thermostat For Further Savings

Be sure to ask us about smart thermostats, too. Smart thermostats, such as the ecobee, allow you to set up heating schedules that can help prolong the life of your furnace as well as keep your utility bills low. Furthermore, the ecobee has a mode called ecobee+ — a free software upgrade for most ecobee owners — that automatically adjusts your heating system based on several factors. It even takes into account things like the outdoor temperature to make fine adjustments and “learn” over time, which can contribute to utility bill savings that really add up. If you want to learn more about getting an ecobee installed, call 224-419-5324 or contact us online!

TIP: Adjust the temperature down while you sleep; bundled up under blankets so you’re not going to notice a slight temperature difference. Consider wearing a sweater and some slippers in the house so you can keep from pushing up that temperature.

G & R HVAC is your first and best choice for helping make sure your Chicago home is warm and comfortable this winter season. We have earned our reputation for being straight shooters with our customers, and we always provide competitive prices with unmatched service experience.


Scroll to Top