In the winter months when outside temperatures drop, it is time for your heating system to shine. Following are nine tips to help you keep heating costs down this winter and help your heating system keep your home as warm and cozy as possible in the most efficient manner.
1. Keep heating units well maintained and clean.
A big waste of energy is a heating system working harder than it should. Keeping your system on an annual maintenance plan can ensure that your system is running at its peak. Whether you purchased your HVAC system from Smith & Keene or not, you can participate in their signature service plan for as little as $12/month. As a Smith & Keene signature service plan member, you will receive such benefits as an annual home maintenance inspection as well as a discount on repair services. If you have a furnace, replace your furnace filter monthly or as recommended. If you have an aged heating unit that is in need of severe repairs, replacing your HVAC system with a newer more efficient heating model may be worth a reduction in heating and repair costs to you in the end.
2. Keep cold air outside and warm air inside.
Check for areas in your home where drafts are allowing cold air in and warm air to escape. Check windows and doorways for drafts. You may be able to add simple insulation in the form of weather stripping to reduce the loss of warm air and better insulate your home. If your home is an older home, a further investigation on your home’s insulation status may prompt you to consider better insulation in areas such as attics or ceilings.
3. Use the sun for free heat.
Open curtains on south-facing windows on sunny days. Streams of sunlight will gently warm those areas. Close window treatments when the sun goes down and on overcast days.
4. Keep cozy with layers.
Before tweaking the thermostat, add a layer. Keep toes toasty with warm socks or slippers. Set throw blankets near the couch and use area rugs to insulate floors.
5. Use ceiling fans in the winter.
Air circulation is key to efficiently keep your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Ceiling fans can help to circulate air in your home. When ceiling fans are used in the summer months the blades rotate in a counterclockwise or forward direction. This rotation pushes warm air up and cool air down to provide a cooling effect in the summer. You can change the rotation of your ceiling fan by flipping the fan’s directional switch, typically located near the motor of the fan. Ceiling fan blades should rotate in a clockwise direction (or reverse) for the winter. A clockwise blade direction draws the room air up towards the ceiling while forcing the warm air down and out – towards the walls. Keep ceiling fans on a low setting with blades rotating in a clockwise direction in occupied rooms during the winter to help circulate warm air.
6. Refrain from heating unused spaces.
If you have rooms in your home that are unused, don’t waste heating energy and money by heating them. Consider reducing heat sent to guest rooms, laundry rooms, or storage areas. Close and seal off vents in those rooms, close doors, and conduct the flow of warm air to rooms that you use more regularly.
7. Turn the temperature setting down at night.
Whether you are using a programmable thermostat or a manual one, reducing the temperature setting at night in the winter can save you money. Your heating system works hardest when the temperature difference between your home’s thermostat setting and the outside temperature is at the greatest difference. At night, when outside temperatures drop, sustaining the same daily temperature in your home causes your heating system to work harder and increase your heating costs. Instead, lower your thermostat setting by 7-10 degrees while you sleep. Your body slows down and body temperatures drop a couple of degrees while sleeping. You can always add blankets to your bedding or swap cooler sheets for warmer flannel options. Energy.gov claims that you can save as much as 10% a year on heating and cooling costs by lowering your thermostat settings between 7-10 degrees for at least eight hours a day from your normal setting in the winter and 7-10 degrees higher than normal for the same 8 daily hours in the summer. Also, consider lowering your thermostat setting by that same 7-10 degrees when your home is vacant – such as when everyone is at work and school during the weekday.
8. Supplement your heat source.
You may want to consider adding additional heat sources (such as a space heater or using your fireplace) to warm key rooms while you are inhabiting them. Using additional heat sources can help you to better control specific rooms in your home – keep the temperature in those rooms toasty without adding heat to the whole house.
9. Use exhaust fans sparingly.
Whether in bathrooms or kitchens, exhaust fans pull warmer air that rises to the ceiling out and away from your rooms. Try to keep exhaust fans on for no more than 20 minutes at a time.
Call The Experts
If after all these attempts to keep your home warm, your home’s HVAC system still isn’t doing its job, then chances are a new system is in your future. Contact Smith & Keene for our team of highly trained HVAC technicians to evaluate your home’s heating unit today!