For many people staying warm during the winter immediately brings to mind a walk over to the thermostat to warm things up a bit. But with so many Americans on tight budgets, especially with holiday expenses, depending solely on a furnace or any heating system may not be the most efficient way to stay comfortable. With that in mind there are some things you can do to help shoulder your heating system’s load and put some much needed holiday savings back in your wallet.
Most of us think of our fans as ways to help circulate the cool air during summer but they serve equal purpose during cold winters. Most fans have a switch or a chain that will make the blades change direction. During the summer your fans should all be rotating counter-clockwise as that circulates your cool air. During the winter switch to a clockwise rotation. This traps heat and is especially helpful if you live in a home where some rooms are colder than others. The amount energy a ceiling fan uses is nothing in comparison to what our furnaces use so these are a great helper to heating systems everywhere.
Make sure windows are firmly shut and check all weather stripping around windows and doors to prevent drafts and keep warm air in. Caulk is cheap at your local hardware store so use it to close off any air leakage around windows. Check your attic for insulation and close off any attic vents that go to the outside. Any way that heat can be kept from escaping will result in a warmer home at a lower cost.
Use or Upgrade the Thermostat
One of the biggest wastes of energy is leaving the thermostat at a constant level day and night, without regard for the household schedule. Purchase bedding by season. During the winter, flannel sheets with a thick warm comforter can keep you warm and allow you to lower your thermostat to around 56 degrees at night. During the day, if people are home set it as high as 68. This will result in incredible energy savings. For those who don’t like such a hands on approach, investing in a programmable thermostat is a perfect solution. These thermostats can be set to a weekly schedule, automatically lowering and raising the settings based on the household schedule you program into it. This way you get the same energy saving effect without having to remember to run to the thermostat on your way out the door.
At night close draperies and curtains to help retain heat. During the day let there be light! Open the shades and let the sun help warm your home as it comes into your windows.
Spice up Your Life
Hot spicy food don’t just warm your mouth; they actually help keep you warmer. Hot chilies and soups are an excellent and tasty way to help you stay warmer without raising the heater settings. If you have a fireplace, use it and enjoy that meal around a cozy fire. This takes a load of furnaces and creates great opportunities for bonding as a byproduct.
These are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg of ways to warm up without over use of your heater. But always remember the professional knows best so do call your professional HVAC service for an audit to make sure your heating system runs efficiently as the coldest of winter sets in.