Most people, probably including yourself, don’t pay too much attention after receiving the power bill. You just pay and forget about it until the next one comes. Then suddenly, you realize your bill has more than doubled or tripled even during the summer or cold season, and you wonder, what is happening?
There are many reasons why you’re receiving a high utility bill. On the other hand, you can also take numerous actions to lower your heating bills steadily. However, you’ll first need to determine why your accounts are jumping.
What Causes High Utility Bills?
Getting to the bottom of the causes of high heating utility bills may seem difficult, but it is not that challenging. Below are the common causes that lead to high heating utility bills:
If you notice your heating system is running well, and your home is not getting warmer, as usual, you’ve poor insulation in your home or property. This is especially possible if your property is old and losing heat through leaks in the windows, doors, and even cracked outer and inner walls.
If this problem persists, it is wise and advisable to conduct an energy audit on your property to effectively determine the leak’s location. These issues will force you to have your temperature set too high or more often to maintain comfortable temperature levels, leading to a higher heating bill.
It is obvious that when the cold season sets in, we crave warm weather inside our houses. This makes us set our thermostats or heating systems high. Depending on the seasonal changes, your furnace might be working overtime to heat your home, which also translates to a higher heating bill than normal.
Your furnace could be inefficient as a result of wear and tear. On average, the lifespan of a quality furnace is 25 years. You could be having a furnace heater leaking, especially if it’s old, and that is the reason why it needs to be replaced.
An old furnace may be faulty, and having a new one will have over 96 percent efficiency, which will enable you to save a significant amount of energy consumption and lower your heating bills.
Setting The Temperature Too High
Setting your water heater at a higher temperature will automatically translate to higher heating bills. Some households and water heater manufacturers set their units’ temperatures at 140ºF, which is too high. You only require 120ºF to heat your water and save a lot of energy and utility bills.
The Size Of Your Water Heater
A water heater that is too big could be the reason why you’re receiving a higher-than-normal heating bill. Below is an estimate of the water heater size against the number of people in that household.
- One to two people 30-40 gallons
- Three to Four people 40-50 gallons
- Five to six people 50-60 gallons
On the other hand, a small water heater for a larger number of members in your household may overwork your unit causing you to seek frequent repairs, leading to quick wear and tear of your unit.
Old Water Heater System
If your water heater is 15 years old, that could be the cause of higher heating bills. On average, most water heaters last between 10 to 15 years, after which their efficiency starts to decline.
If you’re paying more for heating bills, check the manufacturer’s sticker on the upper side of your water tank and look at the serial number to determine the age of your heater. If it’s older than ten years, you’ll need to replace it with a new water heater.
Other issues associated with an old unit include a faulty or leaking water heater, rust that is visible in the water or tank, failure to perform heating functions well, and the need to make constant repairs.
It is important for you to control the temperature of your thermostat. For instance, when you don’t need a higher temperature, lower it in your thermostat to save money on your bill and energy. You can save up to 10 percent of your power utility bill annually just by ensuring your thermostat reading is between 8 to 10° Fahrenheit in 8 hours.
Lack Of Maintenance
Your furnace and other heating systems will require regular maintenance services just like other machines. This is important to avoid gradual falls in performance and a higher utility bill. Proper routine maintenance also increases the lifespan of your heating system.
Dirty Air Filters
Dirty or clogged air filters will put unnecessary strain on your heating system leading to higher energy bills. It is wise to have a professional clean or replace air filters in your heating or HVAC system.
Leaks In Your Ductwork
Ductwork leaks lead to higher monthly heating bills. It is possible to listen and feel air leaks in your ductwork. However, it is advisable to seek and call a professional to detect and seal the leaks effectively.
How Can I Lower My Heating Bill?
The good thing about determining why you’re paying a higher heating bill is that you may be able to make changes that will save you money. Below are some of the few steps you can take to lower your heating bill:
Seeking the help of a professional will help you conduct effective analysis and identify the leaking areas in your property. This will enable them to make proper insulation and fix heating issues in your home.
A properly insulated home can enable the owner to save as much as 40 percent of power costs in a year.
Lower Your Thermostat
When you lower your thermostat even by just one degree, you can potentially save up to three percent of your heating costs. If you lower your thermostat every day, you’ll notice the difference in your monthly heating bill.
Buy A New Water Heater And A Programmable Thermostat
The cost of these pieces of heating equipment may be high, but their functioning will save you money in the long run. A new water heater will function well and enable you to save on energy costs.
A programmable thermostat will also make it easy for you to quickly control the temperatures to your desired levels, and for some, like those using Wi-Fi can be remotely controlled. Programmable thermostats save heating costs and even efforts of constantly turning them off and on.
Get Your Furnace Serviced
You should have your furnace checked and serviced by an HVAC professional. This will enable you to prevent it from overworking. It is advisable to service your furnace before the cold season or once every year.
Bundle Up With Layers
Bundling up yourself and your family with blankets and clothing, especially during cold months, will help you save your heating costs. This is a less technical option that will enable you to set your thermostat even lower and save more money.
How To Know If My Water Heater Is Leaking?
Have you seen water around your water heater? You might be asking yourself whether the water you’re seeing is due to a nearby appliance or pipe or is a sign that your water heater is leaking. Below are various ways to know if your water heater is leaking:
Use Your Eyes To Check For Water Heater Leaks
Determining water heater leaks can be difficult, especially because an insulating blanket is used to wrap the unit. However, it is helpful to know common areas where your water heater leaking can take place.
One of the common areas where your heater might leak is at the bottom of the tank in the drain valve. You should check for a water heater leak at the drain valve where water usually escapes.
At the top of your water heater is another place where a leak can be detected. This is because high pressure in the tubes where water enters the tank can cause water heater leaking.
Temperature And Pressure Relief Valve
The temperature and pressure relief valve which is situated on top of your water heater tank could be a source of your water heater leaking. The pressure relief valve work is to relieve pressure when it gets too high inside your hot water tank as a result of heating.
You can lower your thermostat temperature and see if your pressure relief valve is causing a water heater leak. A professional will enable you to know if you have a faulty or defective relief valve.
The fittings where cold water pipes enter the tank and hot water leaves could be a potential source of water heater leaks. You can check these inlet and outlet pipes connections for signs of leaks.
You can call a plumber to fix these types of leakages, or you can tighten the connections yourself using a wrench. If you see that your water heater has a puddle on top and the water heater leaking is prolonged, then it’s a clear sign of possible internal damage.
There is an inner tank in your hot water heater that holds it in insulation and is fabricated using steel. If there is a large leaking from the bottom of your heater, you might be having a damaged tank.
Unfortunately, it is not possible to repair a damaged or broken tank; you’ll just have to replace the water heater with a new one.
Should You Leave Hot Water On All The Time?
Unless you need a constant hot water supply, don’t leave your hot water heater on. The existing myth is that you’ll need more energy to heat your water.
The truth is that you’ll need a little more energy to get your water up to your desired temperature. However, if you leave your water heater on for hours on hours, you’ll use a lot of energy and end up spending far much more on your heating bills.
If you don’t need hot water, then don’t leave your water heater on at all.
Is It Cheaper To Keep Heating On Low Constant?
Yes, it is cheaper to turn down your hot water heater temperature to operate at a constant low. Also, the risk of getting burned accidentally is low when your hot water temperature is low. A temperature of 48° Celsius or 120 Fahrenheit is the most appropriate low temperature; it is cheaper and safer.
What Is The Most Economical Way To Run Central Heating?
If you wish to lower the cost of your heating bill, how you run your central heating is sometimes necessary and desirable. This is because even in the winter months, you have to rely on heating to be comfortable. Below are some economical ways to run your central heating:
Service Your Boiler
It is important to service your boiler at least once a year, especially before winter, to make sure it doesn’t break down when you require it the most. Servicing your boiler will also help you fix small problems that would become bigger beyond repair. Boiler service is cheaper than replacing it altogether.
Consider Radiator Reflector Panels
Using heat-reflective aluminum foil in the radiators attached to party or external walls will help you avoid heat loss by reflecting the heat back to your room. This will also lessen the need to continue heating your home throughout the day since the warmth will be maintained indoors.
Use Your Central Heating Thermostat Efficiently
Set your central heating thermostat low by one or two degrees. You can turn it high within the first ten minutes if you need more heat, and then make sure to turn it down to maintain optimal heating levels.
Install Thermostatic Radiator Valves
In most instances, you will not need to heat all your rooms to the same degree. You might need to install thermostatic radiator valves in every room. Radiator valves will help you control each room’s temperature by regulating water flow to the radiators.
Let Experts Help
At The Slab Leak Doctor, we are experts in water heater repair and installation services. We also perform plumbing repairs. We have the necessary experience, expertise, and high-tech equipment to detect any leaks in your water heater system and conduct effective repairs.
Call us and let us help with your heating system issues, including fixing problems that will help you lower your heating bill.