We’re halfway through the winter, and those cold temperatures have no intention of letting up anytime soon. Your home heating system has a long way to go before you can shut it down for the season. If you’ve noticed that your heating bills are higher than normal, it’s time to do something about it—or you’ll be paying those higher bills for the next few months. (And there might be other troubles ahead aside from a spike in costs.)
There are steps you can take to lower heating bills, such as putting the thermostat down around 68°F during the day and putting on an extra layer of clothing. But if the rise in heating costs doesn’t seem normal, the issue may be with the heating system itself. Check first on the air filter (if you use a forced-air system like a furnace or heat pump), and change it for a fresh one if it’s clogged. If this doesn’t improve things, then we recommend giving us a call. There are a number of ways we can help you get your home heating costs back under control.
When a heating system starts to cost more to run than it should, it’s often a warning sign of a malfunction. A furnace might have clogged burners or a blower motor fan that’s overheating. The defrost cycle on a heat pump might have broken. A boiler may have excess sediment inside it. These are only a few of the problems that can place strain on a heater and force extra work from it. HVAC professionals can zero in on the specific problem and provide the targeted repairs to fix it.
Repairs to the ductwork
A common reason for forced-air systems that use ductwork to waste money is not a problem with the actual heating system. The problem could be in the ductwork itself. If ducts develop leaks and gaps allowing air to escape, it can mean a drain of 25 to 40% of the heated air moving through the ventilation system. The heater will have to work extra to make up for this loss, and you’ll end up paying for it each month on your bills. Professional duct repairs can solve this problem—it’s not something you can tackle yourself with duct tape.
Heating system replacement
This heating system that’s costing too much to run … how long have you had it? This is an important question to ask, since the answer can tell you that it’s time to replace the whole heating system. The average lifespan of a gas furnace is around 15 years. Electric furnaces can last longer, while heat pumps have shorter lifespans. Boilers can sometimes last up to and beyond 20 years. If your heater is in the 15 to 20-year range, a rise in operating costs warns that the system is over the hill. Repairs may help it limp on a bit longer, but it’s best at this point to arrange for a new heater installation. We can install a brand-new system with higher energy efficiency than the old system ever had.
Wm. Henderson Plumbing, Heating & Cooling Inc. serves Delaware County & The Main Line, PA.