As cold fronts continue to grip the nation, here are some home heating tips to stay warm and cozy all winter long.
Who doesn’t have fond memories of curling up by a fire with a book (or tablet)? Rather than getting sad and blue about the cold weather, take joy in the fact that you can now put on your wool and fleece clothing, cuddle up for warmth, and relax by the fire.
Light a Fire (or Candles)
If you have a fireplace, use it, but make sure that it has been inspected and cleaned within the last year. If you want to inspect the chimney yourself, make sure:
- the flue damper is working properly by testing to see if it opens, closes, and seals.
- while the damper is fully open, use a flashlight and mirror to inspect the flue for a buildup of soot and creosote, as well as any animal remnants or other foreign objects.
- do a rough visual inspection, inside and out, to determine if there are is any damage that could pose a problem.
- when in use, the damper should always be fully open. Do not close the damper until the fire is fully out and there are no embers left. Leaving the damper open when the fireplace is not in use is like having a large window open in your house. You can save up to 30% on your home heating costs by making sure that air isn’t escaping up your chimney. If your damper doesn’t fit properly, consider replacing it.
If you don’t have a fireplace, you can always use candles to create one. You can buy Woodwick candles that make the crackling sound of a fireplace.
Use Rugs to Cover Up Cold Floors
There’s nothing better than sinking your toes in a nice lush rug. Puts thick rugs down on the sides of your bed so you never have to wake up to freezing feet again.
Use Snuggies, robes, wool socks, sweaters, sweatpants, onesies, pajamas, and other warm items to wrap yourself up in. Winter clothing is essential for keeping home heating costs down. In the bedroom, use a thick duvet cover and warm the insides with a hot water bottle.
Bundle Up Your Attic, Basement, and Water Heater Too
Examples of where to insulate. 1. In unfinished attic spaces, insulate between and over the floor joists to seal off living spaces below. (1A) attic access door 2. In finished attic rooms with or without dormer, insulate (2A) between the studs of “knee” walls, (2B) between the studs and rafters of exterior walls and roof, (2C) and ceilings with cold spaces above. (2D) Extend insulation into joist space to reduce air flows. 3. All exterior walls, including (3A) walls between living spaces and unheated garages, shed roofs, or storage areas; (3B) foundation walls above ground level; (3C) foundation walls in heated basements, full wall either interior or exterior. 4. Floors above cold spaces, such as vented crawl spaces and unheated garages. Also insulate (4A) any portion of the floor in a room that is cantilevered beyond the exterior wall below; (4B) slab floors built directly on the ground; (4C) as an alternative to floor insulation, foundation walls of unvented crawl spaces. (4D) Extend insulation into joist space to reduce air flows. 5. Band joists. 6. Replacement or storm windows and caulk and seal around all windows and doors. Source: Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
Although, this one is not really a small project, if you really want to save on your energy bills, you will need to insulate your home. If you do make major insulation changes, call your trusted HVAC professional to assess the ventilation balance of your system.
Install and Set Programmable Thermostat
A programmable thermostat will allow you to automatically lower or raise the temperature of your home during specific times of the day. If you are going to bed or are away from your house, we suggest setting your thermostat for 68 degrees or lower.
Remember, for every degree you lower your thermostat, you can save up to 5% on your heating costs.
- The best thing you can do for your furnace and for your home heating efficiency is to schedule maintenance every year. Some warranties even require it, and a yearly check-up ensures that your system is working properly and at its maximum efficiency.
- Replace furnace filters every 1-3 months, depending on your filter. Some filters just need to be cleaned with a garden hose, while others get replaced entirely. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the package and make sure you are inserting the filter correctly.
- Advances in HVAC technology has made it so furnaces and air conditioners are more efficient and cost-productive than they have ever been. If you have a furnace or air conditioner that is older than 14 years and isn’t working properly or costing you more money than you can keep up with, definitely consider purchasing a new HVAC system.
Other things to check include your air quality system, your ventilation system and anything used to heat or cool food in the kitchen – all of which may be less efficient than you might like.
If you have any further questions on how to save money and energy on home heating this winter, talk to the licensed, trained technicians at Boulden Brothers.