Why has my energy bill doubled?

Getting a costly surprise when you open your heating bill makes the harsh winter even tougher. That’s on top of the inefficient home heating that makes your home colder. Luckily, proper diagnoses of this heating problem will get your home heating needs back on track.

Weak or damaged insulation

If you notice uneven home heating or higher heating costs, check the home insulation. Poor insulation in the attic or walls causes problems retaining precious (and expensive) heat in your home. If you notice that the heater is running all day, but your home isn’t getting warmer, you’re dealing with poor insulation.

How To Fix It

Proper analysis of home insulation is the only way to correctly fix this heating problem. Your home simply needs additional insulation.

However, if the insulation is wet, infested with pests, or outdated, a full insulation replacement is necessary. Luckily, proper insulation reduces heating and cooling costs by as much as 40 percent annually.

Leaks in the ductwork

If a forced-air heating system is used for home heating, leaks in the ductwork could increase the monthly bill. Ductwork should be accessible from the basement or attic. To self diagnose this problem, access one of these areas. See, feel, and listen for air leaks in the ducts.

How To Fix It

If a leak is found, have a professional fix the problem. Some areas of ductwork are difficult to reach, and leaky ductwork impacts indoor air quality, damages the HVAC system, or clogs air filters. Since these issues are harder to self-diagnose, trust a professional to fully diagnose your home heating system.

Inefficient furnace

The average lifespan of a home furnace is 25 years. If the unit is aging, it’s time for a replacement. While replacing a furnace has a large upfront cost, replacing a heating unit with 80 percent efficiency for one with 96 percent efficiency can save you up to 20 percent on energy consumption.

A few of the common warning signs include the following:

How To Fix It

Routine maintenance prolongs the heating unit’s life. A professional is able to diagnose worn-out parts, carbon monoxide leaks, and dirt or rust. This maintenance keeps your home properly heated and the energy bill stable.

Thermostat issues

Thermostats impact the heating needs in your home positively and negatively. By turning the thermostat down between 8 to 10° Fahrenheit for an 8-hour time period, you save 10 percent a year on the power bill.

How To Fix It

While monitoring the thermostat seems like an additional duty, modern heating systems make it simpler than you think. Utilizing programmable thermostats makes temperature adjustments easier and accessible from anywhere.

Feeling a draft in your home impedes home comfort and costs you money. Research has found that 25 percent of lost home heat is going right out the window.

Older windows allow cold air to seep into your home, which alters the thermostat reading and causes your high home-heating bills. This subsequently raises the energy bill. If you’re looking for ways to better monitor the temperatures in your home, consider installing a smart thermostat.

How To Fix It

The first step to fixing an air leak is to check the weatherstripping and caulk around the windows. The reapplication of a layer of caulk serves as a temporary fix to drafty, older widows.

A second option for solving this heating problem is to apply a clear plastic film. These films are applied using a heating source, which tightly presses them against the window frame. It’s found that these films reduce heating costs by as much as 14 percent.

If your home heating system has brought you to your boiling point, give Warner Service a call. A Warner Service technician is able to offer quality heating services and bring back the warm, cozy feeling.

Dirty central heating and air cooling equipment

dirty air filter is the #1 reason for HVAC system failure. A dirty filter restricts the air flow into your HVAC systems air handler. This restricted air flow places additional strain on the air handler fan motor and could, over time, burn out the motor and cause your system to overheat and ultimately fail.

Why Is My Heating Bill So High in the Winter?

Do you leave the heating on low all day even when you’re out?

This is a hotly debated one. According to experts at the Energy Saving Trust, the idea it’s cheaper to leave the heating on low all day is a myth. They’re clear that having the heating on only when you need it is, in the long run, the best way to save energy, and therefore money. (A timer’s best as your thermostat turns your heating on and off to keep your home at the temperature you set.)

The key thing to understand here is that it’s all about the total amount of energy required to heat your home.

It’s a given that a certain amount of energy is constantly leaking out of your home (how much will depend on how good your insulation is). The Energy Saving Trust says if you’re keeping the heating on all day you’re losing energy all day, so it’s better to heat your home only when you need it.

However, it’s not quite that clear-cut. Some specialists disagree – and argue you should keep the heating on constantly for an entirely different reason.

They advocate keeping the heating on low all day, turning all radiator valves up to the max and the boiler down to the minimum, and say the problem with turning the heating on and off is that every time it’s turned off, condensation collects within the walls. This condensation can help conduct heat outside the home, they say – meaning you leak heat more quickly and so will use more energy as a result.

 

Do you keep the hot water boiler on all the time, or turn it on and off as needed?

If you have a gas, oil or LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) central heating system, it will always be cheaper to set the system timer so the hot water comes on only when required.

However, if you use an electrical immersion heater it’s cheaper to heat your water during the night. Make sure your tank is well insulated to prevent it cooling during the day, though.

If you’re unsure what tariff you’re on, check your latest energy bill or ask your energy firm.

 

Do you use radiators or electric heaters?

Electric heaters are one of the most expensive forms of heating. The Energy Saving Trust say the cheapest way to heat your home is by using an efficient gas central heating system, with a full set of thermostatic radiator valves, a room thermostat and a timer.

 

Do you set thermostats on individual radiators, rather than using the main thermostat to control all of them?

It’s best to have as many controls as possible, so you’re in charge of the way you want your home to be heated. Installing thermostatic radiator valves and using them with your thermostat could save £75 per year according to the Energy Saving Trust.

The EST recommends using the thermostat to control the heat in your main living space and using thermostatic radiator valves to lower the heating in rooms you don’t use as often.

 

Do you control the heating using the thermostat or radiator valves?

Thermostats control your boiler, while radiator valves control the water flow through each individual radiator.

Your thermostat controls your home’s temperature, so once it hits the temperature you set on the thermostat, the boiler will go off until the room temperature drops again.

Radiator valves are an extra control which you can use to set the temperature of each individual room (other than where your main thermostat is). This means you can set some rooms to be cooler than others if you don’t use them very often (saving energy and money).

When the temperature in that room rises above what’s set on the radiator valve, it will stop water flowing through that particular radiator – the boiler will still be on to heat other rooms, but it will use less energy.

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Disclaimer

The information, documentation and figures in this deliverable are written by the TRAINEE project consortium under EC grant agreement 785005 and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Commission. The European Commission is not liable for any use that may be made of the information contained herein.

All intellectual property rights are owned by TRAINEE consortium members and are protected by the applicable laws. Reproduction is not authorized without prior written agreement. The commercial use of any information contained in this document may require a license from the owner of that information.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 785005