After your mortgage, your energy bill is likely to be the next highest monthly home expense. So it makes sense to want to keep it as low as possible. Sometimes that can be a challenge in Minnesota, where we so often experience temperature fluctuations and extremes. But there are ways to save on your CenterPoint or Xcel energy bill, and here are some ideas to get started.
Schedule a Home Energy Audit
During the heating season (which can feel year-round in Minnesota!) your furnace will use the greatest amount of energy, whether that’s gas or electricity. So your first line of defense is to make sure you’ve done what you can to make your home as “winter-proof” as possible. You can start by having a home energy audit, which will help you know where your home may be losing energy and what you can do to fix that. Some fixes might be surprisingly simple, like adding door and window seals where necessary. Larger projects could include adding ceiling or attic insulation or replacing old windows or doors. Locally, both Xcel Energy and CenterPoint Energy offer home energy audits.
- Super tip: As the heating season starts, do a walk-through of your home and make sure all your storms, windows, and infrequently-used doors are securely closed and latched. (You’d be surprised how much heat you can lose just by having one storm window slightly ajar!)
Schedule a Furnace Inspection
To save on energy costs, you’ll want to make sure your furnace is running at top efficiency. The best way to do that is to schedule a maintenance and inspection appointment with your HVAC professional. They’ll clean and inspect parts, test run your system, and advise on any necessary repairs or updates. Having regular maintenance of your furnace also means you’re likely to extend the life of your HVAC system.
- Super tip: The easiest thing you can do to keep your furnace running efficiently is to change the air filter. A good time to remember to do this is the first day your furnace kicks in. Then make sure to check it every month during the season, replacing it as soon as it gets dirty.
Replace an Old System
While many furnaces last 15 or more years, the older yours is, the greater the chance you have a less efficient system. Recent advances in technology have resulted in furnaces that run as high as 92-98% efficiency. Compare that to an older furnace that’s running between 60 and 80% and you’ll see why an upgrade could be a wise investment.
- Super tip: Wondering how efficient your furnace is? The easiest way to tell is to check the venting. If it’s plastic, you’ve got a high-efficiency furnace. But if it’s metal, you can bet you’re running at that lower, 60-80% efficiency. Check with your HVAC professional to discuss options for an upgrade.