6 Winter Heating Habits
Customize Your Winter Heating Habits
December 21 is the first day of Winter and the next three months will bring the coldest days of the year. Every year homeowners make decisions, trying to make their home cozy and warm while keeping the utility bill in the affordable range. With a little effort, there are a surprising number of steps you can take to make the heating season more bearable. Consider these easy measures:
Winter Heating Habit 1: Customize your comfort with a programmable or smart thermostat
Take a look at your thermostat; old analog thermostats are generally round with a dial. If you have an analog thermostat change it to a digital thermostat that allows you to schedule your daily heating to maximize comfort and savings.
According to the Department of Energy’s Energy Star program, a household can save 10 to 15% on their heating bill by lowering the temperature by 100 for at least 8 hours per day. A programmable thermostat allows you to schedule at least 8 hours of a reduced heating load. Suggestions include:
- Experimenting to find the lowest temperature the family is comfortable with.
- Lowering the temperature while the family is sleeping.
- Lowering the temperature while the family is away at work and school.
Since the thermostat is programmable, you can schedule a warming buffer before the family awakes or arrives. Smart thermostats have the added benefit of using a mobile device to make adjustments to the schedule remotely, should your schedule change.
Winter Heating Habit 2: Let the Sunshine In
Know your home’s orientation in relation to the movement of the sun in the winter months. (We know the earth is moving, not the sun.) On sunny but chilly days, open window treatments and take advantage of the solar energy gain: it’s free!
The Winter sun can make a significant impact on indoor air temperature, reducing your heating cost. Remember to close the window treatment as the sun goes down to reduce heat loss through the windows since glass has terrible insulation values for heat energy.
Winter Heating Habit 3: Make sure to Maximize Airflow
Supply vents bring warm air from the furnace into every room in your house, while return vents pull air into the furnace to be warmed. In order for the furnace to work efficiently, all of the vents need to be uncovered.
Take a quick walk around the house to make sure furniture and accessories have not covered vents, restricting airflow. (Supply vents can be found on or near the floor, while return vents will be on vertical walls near the ceiling.)
Winter Heating Habit 4: Keep Conditioned Air Inside by Eliminating Leaks and Drafts
You pay to keep the air inside your house comfortable, so don’t let it escape unnecessarily. Check your attic insulation—in our area a minimum of 10” is necessary. Eighty percent of heat loss moves through your attic. Another 15% will move through leaks around doors and windows; use caulk and weather stripping as needed to prevent heat movement.
Winter Heating Habit 5: Turn Your Ceiling Fans in a Counterclockwise Motion
Typically, you consider using the ceiling fan to cool the house during the summer, but it works to help heat your home as well. Look for a black switch on the side of the fan housing. Clockwise pulls air upward and makes a room feel cooler; counterclockwise pushes the warm air near the ceiling down into the room for a warming effect.
Winter Heating Habit 6: The Energy Star program also Recommends Regular Preventative Maintenance for your HVAC System
A scheduled inspection by an HVAC professional can keep your system running efficiently year-round. The service includes interior cleaning, testing electrical components, and heating elements. Preventative maintenance can also be a safeguard against unexpected failure, leading to an incredibly inconvenient call when you need the furnace the most.
Questions About Winter Heating Habits?
Call for information regarding ways to improve your Winter Heating Habits.