local hvac companyAlthough spring may be right around the corner, many Americans are still dealing with bitter temperatures and even snow and ice. That means having reliable home heating systems will be a necessity for many homeowners for the next month or so. But all that heat comes at a cost. In fact, the average American household spends approximately 2.7% of their income on energy bills, averaging out to around $2,000 per year. And if your heating bills seem to keep climbing, that can throw your entire budget out of whack. But what could be causing your energy bills to skyrocket? Here are a few reasons you might not have thought about.

Poor Insulation
One reason your heating and cooling system might be working overtime is that your home allows the air to escape. If your insulation is lacking or there are leaks (often around windows or doors), your home won’t be nearly as comfortable. And because your system will have to work even harder to make your home a normal temperature, you may have to call your local HVAC company to conduct heat repairs sooner than you would like. By sealing and insulating your home properly, you’ll ensure the warm air stays where it belongs.

Improper Maintenance
From clogged ducts to deferred repairs, your system may be in need of some major TLC. While these tasks may not seem like a big deal, the problem is that when your system isn’t living up to its full potential, it has to work a lot harder to produce the desired result. And when your system needs to work harder, it’s going to end up costing you much more every month. If it gets bad enough, you may even need to replace your home heating system before its time — and that’ll even be moreexpensive. Keep up with the tasks you can DIY (like replacing your air filters regularly) and call your local HVAC company to conduct an assessment every year, if not more frequently. They may be able to catch issues early that’ll save you a lot every month.

System Age
Home furnaces can last anywhere from 10 to 25 years, depending on the type of system and how well it’s maintained. But if yours is on the older end of the spectrum, it’s probably not going to work as well as it once did. In addition, older furnaces don’t convert as much energy into heat, so it costs more to heat your home with one. If your system is getting a little long in the proverbial tooth or doesn’t meet current high-efficiency standards, you should consider replacing it for a newer model that will save you more on your energy bills and be more reliable overall.

Thermostat Adjustments
Adjusting your thermostat too much (or not enough) can actually be a detriment. Cranking up the heat to 78 degrees won’t warm up your home any faster than setting it to 70. Ultimately, that’ll just end up wasting energy when you’re forced to eventually turn down the thermostat to a more reasonable reading. In general, keep temperatures consistent to take advantage of savings — but don’t be afraid to lower it during certain times of the day. A smart thermostat can allow you to automatically have temperatures adjusted while you’re out of the house without sacrificing your comfort once you arrive home. Be sure to ask your local HVAC company about installing one.

Furnishing Choice
It might surprise you to learn that furnishings can play a role in how comfortable your home feels. If you’ve decorated your home with plastic furniture, tile flooring, leather couches, and glass tables, you may find that your surroundings feel colder than what your thermostat says. But cloth and other natural textiles like wood will warm up more easily. By opting for cloth-upholstered furniture, adding pillows and blankets, and using rugs, your home will probably feel a bit warmer — leaving you less-inclined to keep adjusting your thermostat and wasting money every month.

Don’t resign yourself to having extraordinarily high heating bills. Be sure to contact your local HVAC company to check out your system to keep costs low.