Do High Ceilings Cost More to Heat?

Do high ceilings cost more to heat

You may be worried about your high ceiling costing more to heat than an average-height ceiling. Or you could be designing a new home and worried that high ceilings will cost more to heat? Let’s dive in…

Do high ceilings cost more to heat? High ceilings often cost more to heat in older homes due to numerous factors, including improper ducting, poor insulation, or drafty windows and doors. Newer homes with high ceilings are more energy-efficient and will therefore will NOT cost more than usual to heat.

Increased heating bills are a result of several variables in the home. Some considerations are the age of your house, the placement of your air ducts, and the style and number of windows installed.

By exploring these three elements in your home, you can determine their impact on your heating costs.

How Do High Ceilings Cost More to Heat a Home?

It will inevitability cost more money to heat a larger space than a smaller one. However, some elements in the home will help determine how much the increased costs will be.

For example, newer energy-efficient homes will not have as large of heating costs as homes the same size that are significantly older. Additionally, the number of windows and the style of windows will also have some impact on heating costs.

So let’s look a bit further into some of these factors.

The Age of the Home

The age of your home will help you determine if your heating costs are inflated, due to higher ceilings vs other attributes. With older homes, several factors will affect heating costs besides high ceilings, including:

  • Older, drafty windows and doors
  • Inefficient ducting work
  • Inadequate insulation

Modern energy-efficient homes handle heating progressively well considering the heat load and how they will remain warm in the winter and cooler in the summer months.

The direction of exposure to the sun in which your home faces will also help reduce the heat load if placed correctly. Homes that face north-south will have different exposure to light than those facing east-west on the same street.

Solutions for Older Homes:

If your older home has high ceilings and your heating bills are substantial, you can try a few energy-efficient upgrades or adaptations to help cut costs.

Using weather stripping on doors and windows to keep out drafts, install in-floor heating, and utilizing ceiling fans to disperse airflow will aid in reducing the amount you pay for heat.

Inefficient ducting is a common complaint of older homes. While smaller homes may not notice this often, older homes with high ceilings are well aware of higher heating costs when the HVAC ducts (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) do not operate to the best of their ability.

Adding or changing the insulation in your older home can make a significant difference in your heating costs. Most older homes do not have adequate insulation in the attic, or it needs to be upgraded.

These enhancements will ensure proper maintenance of your home’s temperature. The heat you use could be escaping from your home without the proper insulation.

The Style and Number of Windows Installed

Windows can have a monumental impact on the heating costs of a home. The more windows in a room, the more energy it takes to keep that room warm.

This factor is especially apparent in houses with high ceilings that showcase large windows. While the interior design could be breathtaking, the heating bills could take your breath away if your home is losing heat because of them.

On average, 25% of heat is lost (or gained) through the windows in a home. This amount can vary depending on the current climate.

A study conducted and published on the Energy Conservation and Environmental Protection website of PennState, confirms the data on how a typical home in Boston, MA, loses heat for each type of window.

See table below:

Single Pane, Clear Glass, Aluminum Frame$875
Single Pane, Tinted, Aluminum Frame$650
Double Pane, Clear Glass, Wood/Vinyl Frame$600
Double Pane, Clear Glass, Low SHGC, Low -e Coating,
Wood/Vinyl Frame
$575
Source: PennState e-Education Institute

The difference between types of windows can be significant, and considering most rooms have more than one window, they can have a sizeable impact on heating costs.

Solutions for Older Homes:

An obvious course of action for older homes would be to upgrade the windows to energy-efficient products, especially in rooms with high ceilings. You want to minimize the amount of heat loss as a result of poor windows to help bring down your overall heating costs.

Depending on where you live, some states and districts offer homeowners tax breaks or discounts when they are updating older homes to use more energy-efficient products such as windows or appliances. Check with your local community for any incentive programs in place that you could take advantage of if you need to upgrade the windows in your older home.

Inadequate Heating Ducts and Placement

The ducting in your home could be working against your high ceilings without you even knowing.

Leaking ducts can be pushing heated air into spaces where it doesn’t need to go, costing you hundreds of dollars in utility bills each year. Heating ducts can also become blocked, making them inefficient, causing an unregulated temperature for your home.  

Heating ducts in older homes often become rundown over time and could use upgrades, or some simple care to help them perform more efficiently.

This circumstance does not always require the help of a professional if you are handy at home to do some simple checks yourself. In instances where major duct work is needed, consult a professional to ensure you are following building standard codes.

Solutions for Older Homes:

The first step would be to examine the ducting in your home for any cracks or separation between the lines and the joints, or if you see any distinct holes. Use approved duct mastic tape to seal up any cracks or joints that will withstand the heat from the ducting.

Furthermore, examine your furniture placement in a room with high ceilings. If you have furniture over the heating registers or air intake registers, the room will not be adequately heated.

Regularly clean the heat registers to avoid any build-up of dust or dirt and explore if new ones could aid in the airflow to help heat rooms with high ceilings.

Conclusion

Homes with high ceilings could cost more to heat, depending on the age of the house, your HVAC system, and the styles of windows installed. By recognizing all of the contributing factors that could affect the heating costs, homeowners can reduce their regular heating bills with some simple adjustments.

Homes with high ceilings can be beautiful and doesn’t necessarily mean that you will face large heating bills. By making an effort to make your home more energy-efficient, you are sure to see changes for the better in your overall utility costs.

Related Quesions:

How can I heat my single room with high ceilings without heating my entire home?
Many homes will only have common areas with high ceilings, while others are standard height. These ceilings can pose a problem for heating as spaces are significantly different. Many homeowners opt for supplemental heaters for individual rooms. These include ceiling fan heaters, in-floor heating, or even ceramic space heaters to use while you occupy the space with high ceilings.

Will my home with high ceilings cost more to cool down?
Heating and cooling a home go hand in hand. If you have an older home that is not energy efficient, you will see increased heating and cooling bills each month. Newer homes that have adequate windows and doors installed and proper duct work should not see a significantly bigger cooling bill.