Though weather can be a bit unpredictable, we thankfully have weather systems that gather data and project most likely outcomes that we may prepare. AccuWeather exists as one of those systems aiding home and business owners in planning for what lies ahead. AccuWeather has indicated that we in the East will experience an extended winter “as cold and snowy conditions extend into Spring 2017.” The US Energy Information Administration or EIA supports this when stating that “Most U.S. households can expect higher heating expenditures this winter (October through March) compared to last winter, according to EIA’s Winter Fuels Outlook.” Extended cold winters cause higher heating bills whether using gas or electric due to systems having to run longer to overcome the heat loss of the home or business. Furthermore, heating systems that are under-maintainenced cause even more costly bills due to the equipments inability to perform at peak performance. For instance, a 16SEER Heat Pump with a 9 HSPF (Heating efficiency rating) ceases to be this efficient when the coils are dirty or the refrigerant charge is low due to a leak. The combination of both an extended winter and poorly maintained equipment results in a costly winter.
What is the solution? Preparation. Though the temperatures in many ways for our area have been unusually warm, it seems that the cold weather is coming and it is coming to stay; therefore, we must prepare for the long haul. How then are we to prepare? Below are some tips to aid you in preparing for the “Extended Winter Temps.”
- If you use propane gas, check your tanks fuel level! – we receive numerous service calls every winter that result in the tank being empty. It is easy forget how fast the fuel can go on really cold days, especially when those days are continuously cold for an extended period of time.
- Check your air filter monthly! – Even if you have a habit of changing it every three months, remember that extended run times cause the filter to catch more particles resulting in dirty filters. A dirty filter creates system strain and inefficient operation resulting in high energy bills
- Check windows, doors, etc. for air leakage! – how much your system operates is directly relative to how much heat your home looses. Air leaks create unwanted air changes thus causing your system to operate more often and for longer periods of time.
- Inspect insulation in attic and crawlspace! – fallen down insulation is useless insulation. When insulation falls it ceases to provide the necessary barrier to stop the heat from transferring to the outdoors. Inspect the attic and the crawlspace to ensure all insulation is intact. If no insulation exist, we strongly encourage installing insulation.
- Call your local Heating Specialists and have your system serviced! – having your system serviced by a professional prevents breakdowns in the middle of the cold as well as enables the system to work at its peak performance saving you cash!
The Cold Weather is coming. Be prepared! Hope this helps you stay warm at the lowest cost possible for your home this winter.