With winter approaching, it’s time to question some of your longheld notions about home heating. Here are nine common mistakes homeowners make in ill-advised attempts to save energy.
Turning the Thermostat Down Too Low
Conventional wisdom says to lower the heat in your home while you’re away. And that’s smart. But don’t make the mistake of turning the thermostat down too low, or worse, off! Your furnace will have overcome a large temperature differential to get your home cozy again. The result? A steep energy bill.
Cranking Up the Thermostat
For the same reason that you shouldn’t drop the temperature too low while you’re away, avoid bumping up the thermostat to a higher than normal temperature in an attempt to heat the home fast. This won’t work. Your furnace will only run longer until it reaches your desired setpoint. For best results, find a comfortable temperature and stick with it. Drastic temperature swings are hard on your heating system.
That’s why we recommend a programmable thermostat. You can schedule your heating system to run at a lower mode while you’re gone and adjust to a more agreeable temperature while you’re home. A smart thermostat is even better. This device actually monitors your comings and goings to maximize energy savings while you’re out and provide optimal comfort while you’re home. Pretty slick.
Closing the Vents in Unused Rooms
No, you actually won’t save any money shutting the vents. The rationale behind this maneuver is that you’re somehow reducing the heater’s output when you shut the vents to unoccupied rooms. Here’s the deal: that air has to go somewhere. It will leak out of holes and gaps in your ducts and equipment. Even if your ducts are properly sealed, closing vents is still a bad idea. Your HVAC system was designed to distribute heat evenly throughout your home. Closed vents will only increase pressure within the system, leading to unnecessary wear and tear.
Stop overlooking those drafts and resolve to seal them once and for all. You’re losing a surprising amount of heat through even the smallest gaps in your exterior doors and windows. Your heating system has to work overtime to compensate for that loss. Sealing is an easy DIY job. Simply use weather stripping and caulk to keep costly warm air inside where it belongs.
Not Changing Your Filter
The easiest way to improve the performance of your heating system is by changing the filter. A dirty filter restricts airflow, diminishing your comfort and increasing energy costs. We recommend changing it every 30 to 90 days.
Not Using Your Ceiling Fan
Don’t let your ceiling fan collect dust over the winter. Put it to use! In the winter, you can reverse the direction of the fan blade to spin clockwise. This will help distribute warm air, taking some of the load off of your heating system.
Not Using the Humidifier
Your humidifier can do wonders in the winter. The air is driest this time of year. A humidifier will not only help prevent airborne viruses, but it will also increase the temperature.
Depending on Your Fireplace
Fireplaces are great for ambiance, but their heating capacity is rather limited. Most of the heated air is going straight up the chimney. Go ahead and use your fireplace, but don’t think it can replace your central heating system.
Neglecting HVAC Maintenance
You scheduled a tune-up for your heating system, right? If not, you’re risking it breaking down in the throes of a polar vortex. Even if your heater manages to limp through the season without issue, it didn’t do your budget any favors. Maintenance ensures your heating system is operating at peak efficiency, which means lower energy bills.
Bottom line: Avoid these mistakes for a more comfortable and affordable season ahead. To schedule a tune-up, call us at (610) 600-1108.