Becoming a homeowner for the first time is an exciting achievement and a real investment in building wealth and security. But once the ink has dried on the closing documents and the keys are delivered, first-time homebuyers can feel inundated with the responsibilities of homeownership. This is especially true when the recurring monthly costs of owning a home begin to arrive, such as those related to heating the home.

While heating bills in the Ruston, Louisiana area are typically more affordable than in more northern areas of the country, they can still place a strain on the new homeowner's household budget. If you are about to close on the purchase of your first home and want to take steps to keep your monthly heating bills as affordable as possible, the following tips are an excellent place to begin

Start With A Home Energy Audit To Determine Existing Issues

While most home buyers utilize a thorough home inspection process as part of their buying process, these services rarely give detailed information that will actually help homeowners save money on their utility bills.

A home energy audit, however, will take a more in-depth look at the amount of energy consumed in the home and then assist the homeowner with suggestions to solve efficiency problems and reduce the amount of energy consumed. Because this can directly affect the amount of electricity or heating fuel needed for home heat, solving energy loss issues is an excellent first step toward lowering the recurring costs of homeownership.

A good home energy audit will consider the entire envelope of the home to see where air loss or infiltration may be happening. This is often done with an infrared imaging system that will highlight areas of actual air loss that can then be sealed or insulated. Also, these audits will assess the current amount of insulation the home has and make recommendations for improving the R-value, if necessary.

Another key feature of the home energy audit is to examine the existing heating and air conditioning system. This examination will look at the condition of the system, as well as its age and efficiency rating. If the current system is older, with an efficiency rating of ninety percent or below, a home energy audit may recommend replacing it with a newer, more efficient one. In many areas, home energy audits are offered through utility providers as a public service.

Learn Good Practices To Help Your Heating System Function More Economically

Once you have completed a home energy audit and have taken steps to address any air loss or insulation issues, the next step is to learn how to help your home's heating system function as economically as possible. Some excellent tips for doing this include:

  • learning to properly clean and maintain your heating system, including changing filters and keeping vents clean
  • scheduling preventative HVAC maintenance services on an annual basis to address system wear and improve performance
  • opting to use sheltered entry and exit doors in cold weather, such as those from inside the garage to the home, to help prevent unnecessary loss of heated air
  • installing insulated window coverings to assist with heat loss around windows
  • using draft stoppers or weather strips on all exterior doors

If your existing heating system is inefficient due to aging, it may be more cost-effective to consider upgrading to a new system. The friendly HVAC pros at Holstead's will be happy to examine your current heating system and help you understand the amount of savings you can expect to enjoy with an upgrade to a more efficient one. Also, they can offer additional suggestions to help you heat and cool your home more efficiently for years to come.

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