Thermostat Tips to Save Money on Your Portland Heating Bill
When you look at Portland heating trends, you’ll find that energy expenses in homes and businesses are the highest during the chilly winter months. By making some changes to how you operate a thermostat, you’ll save on your heating bill and feel just as comfortable.
Thermostat Tips from Portland Heating Experts
- Switch to a programmable thermostat: Old thermostats with dials and sliding components are energy wasters. Programmable thermostats are an affordable upgrade that allows you set a heating schedule so the HVAC system doesn’t warm the house when you’re at work or asleep. Some even come with a vacation setting that will warm a building enough to prevent frozen and burst pipes. As you configure a programmable thermostat, consider your routines. For example, the times when you go to sleep, wake up, leave for work, get home and the kids get out of school.
- Don’t go above 68°F while you’re awake: According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, you can save between 5 and 15 percent on your energy bill if you keep the thermostat at no more than 68°F during your waking hours and then lower it by 10 or 15 degrees when you’re asleep or out of the home.
- Use a space heater: If you and your family tend to use one room more than others, consider lowering the thermostat to 62° and using a space heater in the room. Doing so can save you up to $200 a year, according to Good Housekeeping. If the space doesn’t have a door, install attractive high-efficiency curtains at the room’s entrances or thresholds to contain the heat.
- Go down to 58°F while you’re away: If you don’t have a programmable thermostat, lower the temperature to 58° if the house will be empty for 5 hours or more.
- Make your home energy-efficient: It may be difficult to keep a thermostat at a lower temperature setting and feel comfortable if there are air leaks in a building. Make your home or building more energy-efficient by:
- Replacing old single-pane windows with high-efficiency windows
- Placing window film, or wrap, over older windows; most hardware stores sell kits
- Replacing old weather stripping around windows
- Installing or replacing door sweeps on doors that lead outside or to the garage
- Ensuring the attic has sufficient insulation
- Sealing holes on the exterior and interior walls of your home
- Schedule annual furnace maintenance: Furnace performance, thermostats and energy savings go hand-in-hand. When a Portland heating contractor maintains your HVAC system, they’ll ensure its safety, give it a tune-up so it runs efficiently and make sure your thermostat is calibrated.
- Consider a furnace upgrade: Your thermostat may not help you save on heating costs if your furnace is ready to retire. Signs that you need to replace your furnace include:
- The furnace is over 15 years old
- Your heating bills continue to rise despite your best efforts to save energy
- The system needs frequent repairs
- The unit doesn’t heat your home evenly
- The pilot light is yellow instead of blue because of an excess of carbon monoxide
- It constantly makes strange noises, even after you fix it
- Your home seems to dusty or dry
- Verify the settings: Depending on the settings, user-error can lead to costly mistakes. When you want to heat your home, make sure the thermostat is:
- Set to the heat-related mode
- Clean (inside and out)
- Installed in the right area of your home—one that isn’t near drafts, doorways or daytime sunlight
- Receiving enough power from the batteries
- Set to an appropriate “Hi” and “Lo” temperatures
- A model that’s compatible with the furnace or heating system
- Has the correct anticipator setting
- Move your furniture: When furniture blocks the duct vents, it will not measure the temperature in your home correctly because it block’s the natural air flow. Avoid placing furniture on top of or in front of the duct vents to ensure that the room receives as much air flow as possible. This will help your thermostat return the most accurate temperature readings and efficient settings.
Saving on your energy bill may be as simple as adjusting your thermostat. If you aren’t sure how to use yours, a Portland heating expert can help you the next time you schedule maintenance or a repair.