Consumers can take control of their heating costs by improving energy efficiency and reducing the amount of energy required for heat.
The most reliable strategy for driving down heating costs is to invest in energy-saving property improvements, such as insulation, leak sealing and high-efficiency heating equipment.
Here is a quick look at some of the strategies you can use to take control of your heating costs.
Nothing cuts the cost of home heating like a high-efficiency heating system. To understand how a new heating system can save you money, it helps to understand the difference between low and high efficiency.
A low-efficiency system does a poor job of capturing the heat it generates and transferring it to the indoor space that you are trying to heat. Instead, it dumps very hot exhaust gases from the combustion process into the chimney or venting system, and that heat is lost to the outdoor air. Every excess BTU of heat that is lost up the chimney represents an unnecessary waste of fuel.
A high-efficiency heating system, on the other hand, maximizes heat transfer to the indoor space and minimizes heat loss to the outdoor air. Manufacturers use different techniques to achieve high efficiency, including advanced materials, sophisticated appliance design, intelligent electronic controls, outdoor reset controls and more.
The best way to reduce your home heating costs is to install high-efficiency heating equipment. Here is a look at some of the technologies that can reduce your heating costs.
Most of the oil-fired equipment that is installed today is rated at 86 percent efficiency or higher, and some new systems achieve 90 to 96 percent efficiency. It is not unusual for a system upgrade to reduce heating costs by 30 percent, particularly if the appliance being replaced is more than 15 years old.
Manufacturers use a variety of strategies to achieve high efficiency:
An older heating system can be retrofitted with a microprocessor-based control that adjusts the on-off cycles for greater efficiency. By delaying the start of each heating cycle, a control can reduce costs by 10 percent or more with no sacrifice in comfort.
One great way to reduce home energy costs is to use an indirect or combination water heater that draws its heat from your primary heating system rather than from a dedicated burner.
Many home and business owners are reducing their energy costs by pairing alternative energy systems such as solar hot water heating or geothermal heating with a traditional fuel-burning appliance. The alternative energy system provides heat and/or hot water to its maximum capacity, and the fuel-burning system supplements as needed.
One part of home heating costs that is often overlooked is the electrical consumption of various heating system components, such as fan motors and pumps. Many heating manufacturers now build their systems with power-saving components such as ECM blower motors that run at variable speeds.
You can reduce the cost of heating your home or business by sealing and insulating the building more effectively. That way, less of the heat that you generate escapes through the walls, windows, doors and roof, so you use less fuel.