Smart Ways to Reduce Your Heating Costs This Winter

As temperatures drop and winter sets in, many homeowners in Detroit start worrying about the rising costs of keeping their homes warm. As a leading Heating & Cooling company, we understand these concerns and are here to offer effective strategies to reduce your heating bills without sacrificing comfort. Here are some practical tips that can make a significant difference in your energy consumption and costs.

1. Seal Drafts and Insulate Your Home

As the winter months draw near, effectively sealing drafts and insulating your home becomes crucial in reducing heating costs. This task, while seemingly simple, encompasses various important steps and considerations to enhance your home’s energy efficiency and overall comfort.

The first step involves identifying and sealing drafts, which are common around doors, windows, and areas where different building materials converge. Drafts permit the incursion of cold air and the escape of warm air, which in turn forces your heating system to work harder and consume more energy. To address this, conduct a thorough inspection of your home for any draft indicators, such as noticeable cold air streams, rattling windows, or visible gaps. Once these drafts are located, use weather-stripping, caulk, or draft stoppers to seal them effectively. Weather-stripping is particularly suitable for movable components like doors and windows, whereas caulk is more appropriate for sealing stationary cracks and openings.

In addition to sealing drafts, proper insulation is a pivotal component in retaining heat. Insulation works by creating a barrier to heat flow, keeping your home warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. The attic, walls, and floors are key areas that require adequate insulation. Insulating these areas can substantially reduce your heating costs as it prevents the warmth generated by your heating system from dissipating quickly. When considering insulation materials, it’s important to look at the R-value, which measures the material’s resistance to heat flow. The higher the R-value, the greater the insulation power.

Moreover, insulation is not just about adding material; it’s also about ensuring that it’s correctly installed without any gaps. Even the highest quality insulation can underperform if not properly installed. Consider seeking professional advice or services for optimal insulation installation, especially in hard-to-reach areas like attics or crawl spaces.

By sealing drafts and improving insulation, you can achieve a more energy-efficient, comfortable, and cost-effective home during the winter months. These measures not only contribute to immediate cost savings but also to the long-term value and sustainability of your property.

2. Upgrade to an Energy-Efficient Furnace

Investing in an energy-efficient furnace is a strategic move for homeowners looking to reduce heating costs while contributing positively to environmental conservation. The efficiency of a furnace is crucial, as it determines how much fuel is converted into usable heat. Older furnaces typically operate at about 65% efficiency, meaning a significant portion of the energy is lost, whereas modern high-efficiency furnaces can achieve efficiencies of 90% or more.

The Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating is a key indicator of a furnace’s efficiency. This rating represents the percentage of fuel converted to heat in a typical year. A higher AFUE rating means greater efficiency and more cost savings in the long run. For example, upgrading from an older, less efficient furnace to a new, high-efficiency model can substantially reduce fuel consumption and, consequently, your heating bills.

When selecting a new furnace, consider the size and fuel type. A correctly sized furnace is essential for efficient operation and optimal home comfort. Oversized or undersized units can lead to inefficiencies, increased wear and tear, and uneven heating. The choice of fuel (natural gas, oil, or electricity) also impacts overall efficiency and operating costs. Generally, gas furnaces are preferred for their efficiency and lower environmental impact compared to oil or electric models.

The environmental benefit of upgrading to an energy-efficient furnace is also significant. Higher efficiency translates to lower greenhouse gas emissions, aligning with efforts to mitigate climate change. This is an important consideration for environmentally conscious homeowners.

Although the initial cost of an energy-efficient furnace is higher than standard models, the long-term savings in energy bills and potential rebates or tax incentives can offset this investment. The reduction in monthly utility costs over time can make these furnaces a cost-effective choice.

Upgrading to an energy-efficient furnace offers a dual advantage: it reduces heating costs and minimizes environmental impact. As we move towards a more sustainable future, making such choices becomes increasingly important for both individual homeowners and the broader community.

3. Utilize Programmable Thermostats for Efficient Heating

Embracing the use of programmable thermostats is a smart strategy for homeowners looking to efficiently manage their heating costs. These devices offer the convenience of setting automatic temperature changes based on your daily schedule, potentially leading to significant energy savings and enhanced comfort.

The primary benefit of a programmable thermostat lies in its ability to adjust the home’s temperature according to predefined settings. For instance, you can set the thermostat to lower the temperature during the day when the house is empty and to warm up the home just before you return. Similarly, setting a lower temperature overnight when everyone is asleep and bundled up can reduce energy usage without compromising comfort. This level of control eliminates the inefficiency of heating an empty house or overheating during sleep hours.

Programmable thermostats come in various models, offering different features such as Wi-Fi connectivity, which allows for remote control via a smartphone or computer. This feature is particularly useful for adjusting settings when away from home unexpectedly or checking in to ensure everything is functioning as programmed.

Moreover, modern programmable thermostats can learn your preferences over time and adjust settings automatically for optimal comfort and efficiency. Some models even provide energy usage reports, helping you understand your heating patterns and identify opportunities for further savings.

The environmental impact of using programmable thermostats is also noteworthy. By reducing energy consumption, these thermostats help lower greenhouse gas emissions associated with home heating. This aligns with broader environmental goals of reducing our carbon footprint.

While the cost of a programmable thermostat is higher than a standard model, the investment can pay off through reduced heating bills. Many users report seeing a return on their investment within a year, with continued savings over time. It’s also worth exploring if local utility companies offer rebates or incentives for installing programmable thermostats, as this can further offset the initial cost.

Utilizing a programmable thermostat is a practical and efficient way to manage home heating. It offers convenience, cost savings, and environmental benefits, making it a wise choice for modern, energy-conscious households.

4. Regular Maintenance of Your Heating System

Regular maintenance of your heating system is vital for ensuring efficient operation, prolonging the system’s lifespan, and maintaining a safe and comfortable home environment. This routine care involves several key steps and offers numerous benefits, making it an essential aspect of home management.

The cornerstone of heating system maintenance is the annual professional inspection and service. This comprehensive checkup conducted by certified technicians involves cleaning and inspecting all components of your heating system, including the furnace, heat exchanger, and ductwork. Technicians look for any signs of wear and tear, potential safety hazards like gas leaks or carbon monoxide emission, and overall system performance. They also replace filters, lubricate moving parts, and ensure that the thermostat is functioning correctly.

Regular maintenance helps in identifying and addressing small issues before they escalate into major problems that can be costly to repair. For instance, a minor issue like a clogged filter, if ignored, can lead to reduced airflow, causing the system to work harder and less efficiently, eventually shortening its lifespan.

Moreover, a well-maintained heating system operates more efficiently, which translates to lower energy bills. When all components of the system are in top condition, it requires less energy to produce and distribute heat throughout your home, thus optimizing your energy consumption.

Safety is another crucial aspect of regular maintenance. Heating systems, particularly those that burn fossil fuels, can pose risks such as carbon monoxide poisoning if not properly maintained. Annual checkups ensure that your system is not only running efficiently but also safely.

Furthermore, regular maintenance can extend the life of your heating system. Just like any mechanical equipment, furnaces and other heating components have a finite lifespan, but consistent care can maximize this duration, delaying the need for costly replacements.

Regular maintenance of your heating system is a small investment that pays off in terms of efficiency, safety, cost savings, and peace of mind. It is an integral part of responsible home ownership, ensuring that your home remains a comfortable and safe haven during the cold months.

5. Utilize Ceiling Fans for Efficient Heating

Harnessing the potential of ceiling fans during winter can play a significant role in enhancing your home’s heating efficiency. Commonly perceived as tools for cooling, ceiling fans, when adjusted correctly, can be equally beneficial for redistributing warm air in colder seasons.

In winter, reversing the direction of your ceiling fan to rotate clockwise and operating it at a low speed can create a gentle updraft. This action is crucial because it pulls cooler air upward, which in turn displaces the warm air that rises and accumulates near the ceiling. By pushing this warm air down the walls and back into the room, it assists in evenly distributing heat across the space, which can be particularly advantageous in rooms with high ceilings where warm air tends to settle out of reach.

The strategic use of ceiling fans in this manner can lessen the burden on your heating system, allowing it to maintain a comfortable temperature more efficiently. This can lead to noticeable energy savings as it may enable you to lower your thermostat setting slightly without compromising on comfort. Moreover, it addresses the common issue of uneven heating in larger rooms, ensuring a more uniform and comfortable warmth.

Furthermore, the energy savings achieved through the effective use of ceiling fans can be substantial over time. By improving air circulation and room temperature balance, you create a more energy-efficient and comfortable living environment. This simple yet effective method of using ceiling fans is a testament to how minor adjustments in your home can lead to significant benefits in terms of energy savings and enhanced comfort during the colder months.

6. Embrace the Sun’s Warmth for Natural Heating

Utilizing the sun’s natural warmth during winter months is an efficient and cost-effective way to enhance the heating of your home. This method, known as ‘passive solar heating,’ involves simple yet strategic actions that can significantly reduce reliance on artificial heating systems.

The sun’s rays are a powerful and free source of heat. To make the most of this, open your curtains or blinds on south-facing windows during sunny days. This allows the sunlight to penetrate and naturally warm your interior spaces. The solar energy absorbed by your floors and walls is then released slowly, raising the room’s temperature. This not only helps in reducing your heating costs but also adds a cheerful brightness to your home, enhancing the overall ambiance.

As the sun sets or when it’s no longer shining directly into your windows, remember to close your curtains or blinds. Doing so helps to retain the heat accumulated during the day. Using thermal curtains or insulated window coverings can further augment this effect. They act as an additional insulating layer, preventing the warmth from escaping through the windows, which are often significant points of heat loss in homes.

Implementing these practices into your daily routine is not only eco-friendly but also a financially savvy approach to heating your home. It leverages the sun’s renewable energy, reducing your carbon footprint and contributing to a more sustainable living environment. In summary, embracing the sun’s warmth during the colder months is a simple step that can lead to substantial benefits in terms of energy efficiency and cost savings, all while creating a more comfortable and inviting home.

7. Invest in a Humidifier Enhanced Winter Comfort

Incorporating a humidifier into your home heating system can be a game-changer for enhancing comfort and heating efficiency during the dry winter months. The use of a humidifier comes with multiple benefits, making it a worthwhile investment for any homeowner.

Dry winter air can make your home feel cooler than it actually is. A humidifier adds moisture to the air, which can help make the environment feel warmer. Moist air retains heat better than dry air, allowing you to potentially lower your thermostat settings and save on heating costs. This subtle increase in humidity can make a significant difference in how warm and comfortable your home feels.

Moreover, maintaining an optimal level of humidity in your home during winter is beneficial for health reasons. Dry air can lead to various discomforts such as dry skin, irritated sinuses, and itchy eyes. A humidifier helps alleviate these issues by ensuring that the air you breathe is not overly dry. It also helps to preserve the natural moisture in your skin and respiratory system, promoting overall well-being.

In addition to personal comfort and health, a humidifier can also contribute to the longevity of wooden furniture and musical instruments, which can be adversely affected by dry air. Keeping the air in your home at a balanced humidity level prevents wood from cracking and warping.

When choosing a humidifier, consider the size of the area you want to humidify and the type of humidifier that best suits your needs. Regular maintenance of the humidifier is crucial to prevent the growth of mold and bacteria in the water tank.

Investing in a humidifier offers a trifecta of benefits: enhanced heating efficiency, improved health and comfort, and protection for wooden furnishings. It’s a simple addition to your home that can significantly improve your quality of life during the cold, dry winter months.

In conclusion, embracing these practical strategies can significantly enhance the comfort and efficiency of your home’s heating system. From sealing drafts and utilizing ceiling fans to investing in energy-efficient furnaces and humidifiers, each step contributes to a cozier, more cost-effective winter experience. If you have any questions or need assistance in implementing these methods, our expert team is here to help. Contact us for professional advice, installation services, or maintenance support. We’re committed to ensuring your home remains warm and welcoming throughout the colder months. Let us be your go-to solution for all your heating and cooling needs.

Interested in a Heating & Cooling Check-up?



Peoples’ everyday lives have to adapt to the changes of seasons in more ways than one. Aside from adaptations due to societal changes-e.g. preparations for tax season-homeowners are constantly faced with the issue of regulating the energy intake of their household. Given the unpredictability of weather recently, people always need to be ready to confront the most extreme circumstances. Whether the seasons bring abnormal temperatures or follow their regular weather patterns, anyone responsible for their energy bill needs to make sure their system runs as efficiently as possible.

Those that are most successful in this endeavor are those that perform the proper preparatory steps to ready their heating and cooling systems for these seasonal changes. Becoming one of these prepared people can save you a lot of money in the long run. Here are some steps to follow that can make your energy bills much more reasonable:

Upgrade Outdated Technology

As with any industry that is heavily based off of technology, inefficient performance often stems from old machinery. This concept applies fully for homeowners looking to decrease their energy bills. Furnaces and central air units that are outdated continue to lose their energy-efficiency and often need to overwork themselves to produce the desired results. Although this may likely be an expensive purchase, it is truly an investment in cost-savings and the preservation of your home in the long run.

Utilize Thermostat Programming

Provided you have a programmable thermostat; many settings can have your system working as little as possible and still producing the exact results you desire. For instance, if the majority of your household is not home during the day, program your thermostat, so your heating and cooling system kicks into gear just before everyone starts coming home. This will assist you to avoid spending unnecessary money and energy. Keep your system off on days when no one is home, especially during vacations. Catering your system’s energy usage to the times when it is needed the most will result in favourable cost savings over time.

Perform Routine Maintenance

Although your system may appear to be operating correctly, you need to make sure no structural problems are causing it to overwork itself. There are two very popular instances in which this is the case. Often, there are leaks in heating and cooling ducts that waste energy constantly. Also, when the filters of your heating and cooling system are dirty, they will require your system to input excessive energy. Ultimately, eliminating these interruptions in air flow will keep your system running as efficiently as possible.

Schedule a Professional Check-Up

Most preparatory measures for your furnace or air-conditioning mechanism can be performed by anyone. However, there is value in having the helping hand of an industry professional. It can be demoralizing to put forth the time and effort to keep your system running efficiently, only to be confronted with more issues you are unable to solve. Thus, having the eyes, ears, and hands of an expert on your side can only be beneficial. They will make sure that all of the equipment involved is ready to perform properly for the long run.

About Colonial Heating & Cooling

Colonial Heating and Cooling is dedicated to its customers. We are a certified air-vent-duct-cleaning company with decades of experience in the industry. We’ve been a member of the Plymouth, MI community since 1973 and have lived by our commitment to quality HVAC services ever since. Through professional installation, a sales staff knowledgeable of HVAC and ancillary services, and a team of technicians who are irreplaceable when it comes to honest technical excellence, we are proud to be a Trane Comfort Specialist Dealer. We feature a variety of products such as Trane Furnaces, a/c units and Trane thermostats.

Interested in a Heating & Cooling Check-up?


Is It Time To Replace Your Air Conditioner?

Your air conditioner is perhaps one of the most important pieces of equipment in your whole house. If you have any doubts about that statement, you'll likely become a believer when your cooling system goes out at the height of summer. The important question -  "Is It Time To Replace Your Air Conditioner?"

Replacing it can be one of the most expensive things you do for your house, as well. Here are a few things you can do to help prolong the life of your unit to reduce your expenses and minimize disruptions:

Get Regular Maintenance
As with any piece of equipment you own, getting regular maintenance can keep your air conditioner in top working order. Routine maintenance will keep the unit working efficiently, using less power and providing consistent performance. It will also help to reduce the likelihood of repairs, which can save you money in the long run.

Regular maintenance includes having the entire system checked, as well as getting the appropriate parts cleaned or oiled. It also includes topping off the fluids.

Never Try to Make Repairs Yourself
The Internet makes everything seem easy with all the how-to articles and YouTube videos that give you information on how to make any repairs. However, attempting to make repairs on your air conditioner can put the system at serious risk. Being able to make these repairs requires extensive training and experience. The system is complex, and any mistakes can lead to the need for even more expensive repairs or even a total replacement. Attempting your own repairs could even result in serious injury or damage to your personal property.

You should never try to repair your system yourself. Always call a qualified professional to perform the maintenance and the repairs.

Always Work with a Qualified Professional
Finding the right professional to repair or maintain your air conditioner requires much more than just looking up names in the phone book and picking one at random. You should always find a technician that has the specific training and experience to work on the exact type of unit that you own. You should always work with a service professional who is both licensed and insured. Licensing shows that the person has met minimum training and quality standards to receive certification. Insurance protects you against any mistakes that the technician may make while working on your unit, whether it results in damage to your system or damage to your property.

Don't be fooled by the information you read online, making it seem like home repairs are easy if you just read enough articles or watch enough videos. Some home repairs are quite complicated, and attempting them can put your property in jeopardy, as well as your safety. Air conditioner repair is one of them. Hiring a professional to perform regular maintenance on your unit and to make any necessary repairs can help you prolong the life of your system, saving you money and minimizing any disruptions to your comfort.

Interested in an Air Conditioning Check-up?

Time to turn on the AC!

While most of the country is begging for a few signs of Spring, it is time to turn on the AC!

AC Repair in ScottsdaleIt’s time for spring training games, sunscreen and flip flops; that’s the good news. The bad news is that the temperatures are rising early this year. That means your air conditioner is about to get a workout and you’ll want to make sure neither you nor your unit breaks a sweat. Read more

Spring Cleanup List Begins with HVAC

To keep your house in top shape, give systems an annual checkup.

Spring cleaning is a tradition, but there are some other chores that should be part of your springtime routine, too. Most of them take only a few minutes, so get started!

1. Check your air-conditioning and heating equipment before the beginning of a new season.

2. Check and replace your furnace and air-conditioning filters every month. There are several types from which to choose, depending on your needs. Fiberglass filters last only one month, while the filters typically last three to four months. HEPA filters last up to six months and can be cleaned with a vacuum nozzle.

Read more

Prep Your House for Vacation

Is your home vacation ready? HGTV Magazine tells you how to get things settled before leaving for your summer trip.

Never announce you’re away
Wait until you’re home to post vacation pics on Facebook, advises Allstate insurance agent Jim Towns. Also, turn off the volume on your home phone so the ringing won’t signal an opportunity to passersby, and don’t change your voice mail greeting to say you’re out of town.

Eliminate easy access
According to statistics from the FBI, 61% of burglars use force to gain entry, “but they’ll often look for open doors and windows first,” says Jim Towns. Check that all door and window locks are working (including windows on the second story), and repair any broken glass, particularly in basement windows. Bring in any hidden keys.

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Why is My Furnace Leaking Water?

As outside temperatures cool down, it’s common for homeowners to take stock of their heating system and make sure, “everything looks okay.” And then often what begins as a basic furnace inspection ends with a nervous phone call to our office with the same common question, “Why is my furnace leaking water?”

While there are a variety of explanations for this, we compiled a list of the most common reasons:
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Lately we have been receiving lots of calls regarding our clients furnace not providing enough heat or that it is not working as efficiently as it did  last year.  Their first instinct is to assume they need a new thermostat. While sometimes that is the case, a few other more common factors will cause your heater to work less efficiently. Before you worry your heater is broken and begin furiously looking for heating and air companies, there are a few things that you can do to ensure you are getting the most value out of your furnace. Below are Bell Brothers top three furnace efficiency tips.

Furnace Maintenance Checks
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New Homeowners Checklist Here

JLH Heating checklist to the new homeowners! We will take the time to explain your heating & air conditioning system in terms you will understand. When it comes to your comfort & safety, there are no stupid questions. Please ask.

1. 20 point + Inspection of your HVAC system – making sure it is safe and ready to use. 

  • Check thermostat and calibrate if necessary
  • Check chimney base
  • Clean and check pilots
  • Adjust pilot
  • Check Thermocouple
  • Clean burners
  • Adjust burners
  • Check fan belts
  • Check amperage draw
  • Check furnace filters*
  • Check safety devices
  • Check heat anticipators
  • Check thermostat contacts
  • Check limit control
  • Inspect combustion chamber
  • Check blower wheel
  • Check blower motor and lube
  • Check furnace wiring
  • Check for combustion air
  • Check hot water tank
  • Check gas valve operation
  • Test for gas leaks
  • Check humidifier*
  • Check electrical connections
  • Inspect heat exchanger for leaks
  • Check motors and oil if necessary
  • Check any/all accessories
  • Check and secure all panels
  • Check condensate hoses
  • Request Furnace Repair Service

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8 Simple Furnace Fixes

If your furnace quits or breaks down try these 8 simple furnace fixes before you call for service help. You can solve the problem and avoid a $200 service call.

Required Tools and Materials for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

  • 4-in-1 screwdriver
  • Furnace filter
  • Bleach
  • Metal foil duct tape
  • Hardware cloth, 1/2-in.
  • Electrical tape

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