You examined your most recent energy bill and were shocked to see a number higher than you’re used to seeing. You expect to see an increase in energy costs as colder weather arrives—whether it’s natural gas going to a gas furnace or electricity to a heat pump or electric furnace—but this is next level. You know you can’t be using that much energy. What’s happening?
We’re glad you’re concerned about this. Sometimes people just ignore their utility bill history and what sudden increases might mean. There are several possibilities for this sort of spike in heating costs. Some are simple to correct. Others will require calling our skilled professionals for heating repair in Minneapolis, MN. We’ll look at the most common causes of rising heating bills.
Lack of Maintenance
How long has it been since you’ve scheduled professional maintenance for your heating system? If you’ve skipped several years, or have never scheduled it at all, we’re not surprised that you’ve got high heating costs. A heating system will lose around 5% of its energy efficiency each year without maintenance.
The good news is that it’s not too late to get on track with these annual inspections and tune-ups. Contact our team and we’ll get you on the schedule for maintenance. Remember to keep up with these appointments each fall.
Dirty Air Filter Left in Place
The air filter for your HVAC system, also known as the blower filter, protects the interior of the furnace/heat pump from dust and other debris coming through the return air ducts. It will take around 1-3 months for this filter to become so dirty and clogged that it will restrict airflow.
This will cause a rise in energy bills as well as numerous other performance issues for the heater. Change out the dirty filter for a clean one and this may solve the problem. Set reminders for yourself to change the filter on a regular schedule.
Pay attention to how your heater is running. Does it seem to turn on for only a short time, shut down, then turn back on again a short time later and repeat the process? Then the heater is short cycling: caught in its start-up cycle and not completing a full heating cycle.
This rapid start-stop process will wear the unit down fast. It will also increase energy consumption because a heating system consumes the most energy during start-up. If your heater is starting up 2-3 times more often than it should, you’ll definitely notice it on your energy bills! You’ll need to have professionals find the source of the short cycling and have it corrected.
Leaks in the Ductwork
When air starts to escape from the ductwork through leaks, plenty of heat will go to waste. In fact, up to 30% of the heated air in the ductwork can vanish. The heater will need to work more to make up for this lost air and that means larger bills. Leaky air ducts create many other problems, so you’ll want professionals to fix it ASAP.