Staying warm and saving money

Staying warm and saving money

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Here we go again! Another Arctic blast of winter moving into the Mid-South for the end of the week. We're talking about near 60 degree highs Wednesday falling to near 40 degree highs Thursday. And while we've been used to a relatively colder winter so far (with just a few breaks in-between it seems), our wallets may not be - there's no doubt our heating systems have been getting quite a work out this season!

I knew it when I cautiously opened my utility bill just last week—a higher than expected balance was due. And while I took a few cost-saving measures like replace old bulbs with energy-efficient ones, and ran the dishwasher only when full, the Kozak household runs on gas-heat, and boy did we use it. While you can definitely lower the heat during the day and when your house is empty, there's no escaping the higher usage when the temps drop. Month-to-month, the average temps in the Memphis area dropped 5 degrees from December to January. So, besides installing and using a digital thermostat, what else can we do to increase efficiency and maybe help lower costs?

Well … you CAN pack up and move to Florida … but then you'd have to deal with the constant humidity and heat 10 months out of the year. Plus, have you ever priced a long-distance move? Eeesh ... (believe me, I know!)

There is something simple you can do here: replace your air filter every 4-5 weeks.

A filter will help to maintain the clean air in your house by trapping the pollens, allergens, and dust in the air. Obviously they get clogged with this stuff … especially when you have the system running constantly. By having a clean filter in place, you are not only keeping the air in your home healthy, but you are keeping your HVAC machine in tip-top shape as well. Not only that, but failure to change a dirty filter could clog the system and break it down, causing you to spend hundreds, if not thousands in repair costs.

True, filters aren't necessarily that cheap, but try buying them in bulk at the bog-box stores to save.

Add it up though, and how much could you save each season by properly changing your filter? Somewhere in the 15 percent range, which isn't bad considering you are also extending the life of the unit itself. It's a small price to pay to keep a happy and healthy - and WARM home, this winter.

And remember- summer is just a few months away; the heat and humidity of the Mid-South will also give you a reason to change your air filter, so start stocking up!

Andrew Kozak

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