With winter now fully upon us, just about everyone in Chicago has turned their heat on trying to stay warm and comfortable. With the added expense of running your heating system the question turns to how to save some money this winter season. 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 your utility bill under control during these cold Chicago winters. G & R Heating and Cooling services in Chicago 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.
Creating a plan of action for the things that need to be done to get your Chicago 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; put them on a list with a date for completion. In addition; we recommend to have a family meeting and discuss conservative preventative measures such as: keeping the doors closed and thermostat control. Sometimes the little things like 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 in Chicago is over 10 years old we recommend that you have an HVAC professional, such as G & R HVAC who is been serving Chicago for years look your system over: inspecting the wiring, burners and combustion chamber to make sure that there’s no damage that could cause you expensive repairs down the road. Once every 2 years it is a good idea to have your vents cleaned out as well to 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… These items can keep the convection principle that warms many Chicago homes to work properly causing your home not to heat as efficiently.
Seek Out Drafts
Drafty doors and windows are one of the most common areas of waste found in older Chicago homes. The gaps that develop as a home settles over the years can create air leaks that allow the cold air to come rush right into your home. While you might think that a little crack around the windows or doors is no big deal, because of pressure density variations, when it is cooler outside and warmer inside it essentially pulls the cold air in; as air of higher density is always pulled by that of a lower density such as warm air. For homes equipped with optional storm windows install them at the first cold turn instead of screens 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 utility bill this winter. Also, keep your windows locked as you need to push down a bit to get them to lock, creating a tighter seal.
Homes with Fireplaces…
For many homes in Chicago a fireplace is a nice centerpiece to the living room but it’s also a source of major cold air leaks in your home. Older fireplace flue’s (or fireplaces not properly maintained) may not close completely leaving an open draft. Because heat rises the chimney is a natural escape for the heat in your home and can make your heater run longer to maintain a comfortable temperature. We recommend getting a chimney balloon for your Chicago home’s chimney that inflates to insulate, filling the gaps inside your chimney. (Unless of course you use the fireplace, make sure to take it out before you light up the fireplace). You can pick up a chimney balloon at Home Depot or Lowe’s for around $55.
TIP: Research has proven that using a fireplace, while heating the immediate room, actually pulls 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 in your Chicago home allowing you to set the degree of temperature for your comfort level. By adjusting the temperature down 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°.
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.
Simply changing the temperature a few degrees will often go unnoticed but can make a big impact when on the utility bill. Be sure to ask G & R HVAC about an automated thermostat that helps control the temperature for day and night to increase efficiency of your current heating system in Chicago.
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 always providing competitive prices and unmatched experience.