Understanding Your Winter Electrical Usage
The Impact of Your HVAC System
We still have a few months before we move into spring, and the need for practical yet affordable heating is only increasing. Most homes in Virginia and Maryland rely on traditional HVAC systems to keep their homes warm and comfortable. However, because your HVAC system can account for over 50% of your electrical consumption, using these systems can significantly impact your winter electrical usage, leading to high energy bills, even if you have a gas furnace.
In this blog post, we will offer insight into the effect of your HVAC system on your winter electrical usage. We will also provide DIY tips for reducing electricity expenditure with your HVAC, and how an inefficient or outdated HVAC system may be causing you to use more electricity.
How Your HVAC System Affects Your Electric Bill
Your HVAC system can significantly influence your electric bill, particularly during winter. One key factor is the efficiency of your system. Older or poorly maintained HVAC units tend to work harder to provide the same level of heating, leading to excessive electricity consumption.
Moreover, the type of HVAC system you use matters. For instance, electric furnaces may heat your home effectively but tend to use more electricity than gas or oil furnaces. Similarly, while heat pumps can be very efficient, if they are improperly sized for your home, they can draw way more power than they should.
Thermostat settings also play a pivotal role. Setting your thermostat to a higher temperature than necessary will cause your system to work harder, thereby consuming more electricity. Meanwhile, the insulation in your house affects how long the warm air stays inside, affecting how frequently your system needs to cycle on and off.
DIY Tips for Reducing Excess Electrical Usage
We know that trying to reduce electricity usage in the winter can feel like an exercise in futility. However, you can do a few simple things to ensure that your HVAC system isn't using more power than it needs to.
- Install a smart or programmable thermostat: A programmable thermostat allows you to tailor the temperature setting according to your schedule. It ensures that the HVAC system is turned off when you are sleeping, away from home, or when the outdoor temperature is not extreme.
- Seal air leaks: Air leaks through windows and doors can lead to significant heat loss. You can use caulk or weather-stripping to seal gaps, cracks, and leaks around your home. An airtight home ensures that heat is not wasted, and the HVAC system does not need to work harder than necessary.
- Replace air filters: A dirty air filter restricts airflow, reducing efficiency and increasing energy consumption. We recommend replacing filters every one to three months. A clean, well-maintained filter ensures that air flows freely, and the HVAC system does not have to work extra hard to keep your home warm.
- Upgrade to a heat pump: Replacing your old HVAC system with a heat pump can significantly reduce your winter electrical usage. Heat pumps transfer heat instead of generating it, meaning they use less electricity. They can also replace your air conditioning system, which means you only have to maintain a single system for heating and cooling. Heat pumps also run quietly and are very durable.
- Maintain your HVAC system: Regular maintenance of your HVAC system by a professional ensures that it runs efficiently and uses less energy. A well-maintained system will also last longer and save you money in the long run. We recommend that you schedule at least one maintenance check-up per year.
It is essential to understand your winter electrical usage and how your HVAC system can impact your energy bills. Implementing the above DIY tips can go a long way in reducing your winter energy consumption.
If you suspect your HVAC system is outdated, inefficient, or in need of repair, contact us at Donmar Heating, Cooling & Plumbing. Our team of experts will help you determine the most energy-efficient system for your home and provide you with quality installation, maintenance, and repair services.