Are your energy bills bigger than expected? You might be surprised to discover everything that's driving them up!

Living life without gas and electricity seems almost unimaginable these days. From lighting and heating our homes to keeping them cool, we need a lot of power for everything we do each day. However, when we misuse energy, our utility bills spike, and sometimes much higher than expected. Here are eight common mistakes to avoid and keep your utility bills in check year-round.

Mistake #1: Not changing your air filter regularly.

An inefficient HVAC system will inflate your energy bills when the weather cools off, especially in the fall and winter here in Northeast Ohio. All too often, this inefficiency is due to a dirty air filter. Over time, your air filter captures dust, dirt, lint, pollen, and other pollutants, making your HVAC system work considerably harder than it should. We recommend replacing your air filter every 30-60 days to ensure your system continues running at maximum efficiency.

Mistake #2: Letting your heated air leak away.

Most homeowners devote much thought to air leaks, but don’t underestimate how much energy your home may lose due to leaky ductwork and drafty windows and doors. Inspect these problem areas to identify leaks and resolve them. A candle or lighter flame’s flicker will show you places that air is going where it shouldn’t. Once you’ve discovered a leak, use caulk, tape, or weatherstripping to seal it up tight.

Mistake #3: Inadequate or missing insulation.

Along with plugging leaks, our wildly unpredictable climate here in Ohio makes it essential to ensure that your home is very well-insulated to keep the heated air inside where you can enjoy it. Our neighborly experts recommend insulating your roof and wall spaces with spray foam, and blown fiberglass (that fluffy stuff) in your attic to prevent leakage.

Mistake #4: Beware of phantom power usage.

All of the appliances in your home continue to draw power even after they are turned off. This phantom power usage adds up over time and inflates your utility bill. We recommend unplugging devices like coffee makers, chargers, HDTVs, and other electronics when not in use, or using a power strip that allows you to turn everything off fully when you aren’t using them.

Mistake #5: Setting your thermostat improperly.

No, cranking up the thermostat temperature won’t heat your home any faster, so please, don’t do it! It won’t make a difference in how quickly your home warms up. Instead, your furnace will end up running longer, translating to a spike in your energy costs – and probably causing your heater to break down prematurely, costing you even more money!

Mistake #6: Heating an empty house.

When you’re away from home at work most of the day or you’re off on vacation, don’t use your furnace as if you were lounging on the couch at home. Instead, turn the heat down a bit when you leave, then back up to normal when you return. Or, better yet, consider upgrading to a programmable thermostat, which can make those energy-sipping home/away adjustments in temperature all by itself!

Mistake #7: Shutting vents and registers in unused rooms.

It may seem to make great sense to close the vents in unoccupied rooms to save some money, but this just isn’t the case. Your HVAC system is sized and designed to supply even heating throughout your house, and it won’t work efficiently if you disrupt the balance by closing the vents. The extra air pressure can overwork your furnace and potentially cause a breakdown. Keep ’em open!

Mistake #8: Neglecting routine system maintenance.

This is a big one. We mean really big. If you run your HVAC system without having seasonal maintenance performed, it won’t heat your home as efficiently as it should, causing a jump in your energy bills. (And it’ll probably need replacing before it would otherwise.) We recommend scheduling seasonal maintenance at least twice a year – once in the spring for your central AC, and again in the fall for your furnace, to ensure that your heating and cooling system runs optimally throughout the year.

NOT a mistake: Choosing Hey Neighbor Heating & Cooling for expert HVAC maintenance!

Kiss those spiking energy bills goodbye and say hello to our neighborly team of professionals here at Hey Neighbor Heating & Cooling! We’re always ready and happy to perform seasonal system maintenance or install a new programmable thermostat in your home to help keep your utility bills as low as possible.

Ready to save on energy bills? Today is the day you start saving! Call us at 844-HEY-NEIGHBOR, and let us put your home on the path to maximum efficiency.


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