Low fuel prices and a relatively mild winter forecast have officials projecting big savings in consumer heating costs this winter. If those predictions hold true, it will be a huge boon to homeowners across the nation who could gain some major wiggle room in their household budgets. However, just because you're spending less money on your heat and air conditioning bills doesn't mean you should neglect making efficiency improvements. On the contrary, if you invest the savings into efficiency upgrades to your heat and air conditioning system, you can lock in savings for years to come, even after fuel prices inevitably rise again.
Nothing Lasts Forever, Even Cheap Natural Gas
If current projections hold, consumers could spend less on winter heating this year than they have in a decade or more. Low fuel prices won't last forever, however – the costs of energy production are notoriously fickle, especially when it comes to the fossil fuels that ultimately heat the vast majority of homes in the United States. Furthermore, even if this winter turns out to be as mild as projected, there is no guarantee that future winters will be as forgiving. So no matter how you look at it, the current savings in winter energy bills are unlikely to last.
However, savvy homeowners who use their savings wisely to increase the efficiencies in their home systems can realize savings in their heat and air conditioning bills all year long. Try putting your money toward some of these opportunities to create a more efficient and eco-friendly home:
- Upgrade the insulation in your home so that the treated air stays inside where you can enjoy it. Insulation is a relatively modest investment that can make a huge different in your efficiency.
- Preserve your indoor air quality without sacrificing conservation by installing a heat recovery ventilator that cycles in fresh air from the outdoors while retaining the heat from inside.
- Plant trees and landscape your yard to better take advantage of the sun's heat.
- Hire a technician to perform an energy audit to suggest more ways to save.
Upgrading to a New Heat and Air Conditioning System
For consumers who really want to go all out, this could be the perfect opportunity to purchase a brand new heat and air conditioning system. Replace a cranky old furnace with one that meets the latest Energy Star standards for efficiency. Upgrade from outdated models like oil or electric resistance heat to options that use more affordable fuels, like natural gas furnaces and heat pumps. Some solutions, like geothermal heat pumps, are still eligible for federal tax credits, stretching your dollars even further.
If you need help finding savings in your heat and air conditioning system, call an HVAC expert right away.