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With the holiday season on the way, the autumn and winter months can get expensive in a hurry! Nobody wants to see a higher-than-usual heating bill show up in the mailbox right in the middle of the gift-giving, holiday-party-attending, and family-travel season. How can you avoid it? There are things that you may be doing right now that make your furnace work harder than necessary, inadvertently driving up your Olathe healing and cooling bills. Some of these are as obvious as skipping your annual furnace tune-up, while others are things you might never think about.

When it comes to unnecessarily running up your heating bill this autumn and winter, here are ten of the worst offenders and tips on how you can avoid them!

1. Not knowing what temperature to set your thermostat.

Sure, you want your home to stay comfortably warm, but what temperature setting will keep it nice and warm? Adjusting the thermostat throughout the day and night causes your furnace to kick on and off constantly, which is not only bad for your heating bills, it’s also bad for the longevity of your furnace. In winter, the most efficient place to set your thermostat is somewhere between 60 and 65 degrees, but most people prefer to keep it a little warmer.

2. Letting the heat out through gaps around windows and doors.

When you stood in the doorway too long, did your dad ever yell that you were “letting the heat out?” Well, many of us inadvertently let the heat out all the time through cracks and gaps around our windows and doors. This not only forces our furnaces to work harder, it can create chilly and unpleasant drafts. To avoid this, check your entire home for possible leaks, and make sure they’re tightly sealed.

3. Forgetting to lock your windows.

While we’re on the subject, your windows should stay locked during the winter months and anytime they’re not open. On the ground floor, it’s obviously a good safety precaution, but even second-story windows should be tightly locked. Why? Locking your windows helps produce a nice, tight seal that keeps warm air in and cold air out.

4. Using the fireplace as a heat source.

A crackling fire on a cold winter day certainly sounds cozy, doesn’t it? And it can be, but using your fireplace as a source of heat can actually cost you more, not less, on your heating bill. Why is that? Heat rises, and so most of the warmth from your nice fire goes right up the chimney. Furthermore, that same chimney can let cold air in when the flue is open, making your furnace work that much harder.

The same goes for running a bunch of space heaters. These are high-energy appliances that use a lot of electricity to heat a large space, so you’re probably better off just relying on the ol’ furnace or putting on an extra sweater.

5. Heating when there’s no one home.

You know better than to let the temperature in your home drop too low while you’re away—pipes can freeze and who knows what else—but running the furnace the way you would when you’re home is also a real waste of money. Even if you’re just at work for the day, there’s no reason to keep the place as comfortable as you’d want it to be if you were home.

This is where a programmable thermostat can really come in handy! It helps to learn your daily patterns and adjust the temperature accordingly. Plus, if you have a smart thermostat, you can probably adjust it from your phone even when you’re not home!

6. Shutting off vents in unused room.
Maybe someone has even told you that this is a good way to save on your heating bill, but in fact the opposite is actually true! The ductwork in your house is designed to provide even heating throughout the entire structure. If you close off vents in certain rooms, the system doesn’t operate as efficiently, and you’ll actually end up with higher heating bills, rather than lower.

7. Running the exhaust fans.
Most of the homes in the Olathe area don’t actually have bathroom or kitchen exhaust fans that vent outside the home. Usually, they just help to disperse steam or smoke or whatever, rather than venting it outside. If you do have an outside-venting exhaust fan, though, don’t run it very long during the winter. You’ll just be pumping warm air outside.

8. Not making use of natural sunlight and heat.
Even in the winter, sunlight can really warm things up! Keep your curtains open during the day so that sunlight can get in and help to naturally warm your house, especially in rooms that have south-facing windows. The best part? Sunlight doesn’t cost a thing!

9. Setting the thermostat too high—or too low!
Keeping your home at a pretty steady temperature throughout the day helps reduce wear and tear on your furnace, and it will lower your energy bills. The less often your furnace has to kick on, the longer it will last, and the less you’ll spend. This also goes for setting your temperature too low at night. If you do that, the furnace has to work that much harder to get the temperature back up in the morning. Try to keep your home at a fairly steady temperature anytime you’re home, and you’ll get better results.

10. Skipping your annual furnace tune-up.
Sure, you should change your furnace filter every one to three months and more often when the weather is cold and your furnace is running a lot, but that’s just the start. You should also have your furnace checked out and tuned up before cold weather really sets in—or as soon as possible—to make sure that everything is running as it should. Regular checkups can also help to catch small problems before they turn into big ones.

To schedule a tune-up or for all your other Olathe heating and cooling needs, call Davenport Service Company at 913-441-2222 today!

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