From frozen pipes to uneven heating, winter brings an onslaught of heating issues - and of course, it’s always at the worst times! Unfortunately, most homeowners don’t work to prevent the heating problem until it’s too late. When that happens, you may end up with a hefty bill trying to overcompensate for those unwanted cooler indoor temperatures that are impacting your HVAC system. So what’s a homeowner to do? Stop those dropping temperatures outdoors from causing your energy cost to rise indoors with these five ways to keep your home warm this winter.
1. Prevent Hot & Cold Spots
Have you found that some rooms in your home stay perfectly comfortable while other rooms are unusually cold? Uneven heating is a common issue in many homes and can be caused by a wide variety of things. Closed vents and blocked ducts are the two main reasons for this problem. Sometimes it’s an inadvertently placed piece of furniture in front of a vent, or a vent was closed to save money, but open, clear, and clean vents are the only way to have proper air flow. Our blog post How to Fix Hot and Cold Spots shares more insight about correctly ventilating your home.
Sometimes clearing the air blockage isn’t quite enough to solve your problem. Contacting a professional HVAC technician can solve any duct inefficiencies, leaks or make changes to improve flow of air to different zones of your home with a ductless mini split system.
2. Block Drafts & Maximize Insulation
Winter winds can blast through cracks in window panes and doorways, causing your HVAC system to work harder to compensate for the extra source of cold air. If you’re looking for a quick fix, invest in a draft stopper that sits under your door or window. It’s a cost-effective solution that will bring immediate results. For a more permanent solution, you can install a door sweep which will decrease airflow beneath your doors or windows. An alternative solution is to seal your doors with vinyl foam weather seal around exterior doors. It’s adhesive on one side to allow for easy installation along door frames. It creates a barrier to keep cold air out.
Even though around doors and windows is where people typically notice draftiness, if you have an attic or basement, you could be losing a lot of heat that way, too. If someone in your home opened a door and was letting cool air in, you’d be pretty frustrated, but by not properly insulating your attic, you’re doing just that. You can seal most air leaks with weatherstripping, caulking, or mastic sealant. Though insulation projects in your attic or basement can be pretty time and labor intensive,there are ways to DIY, and it will bring you savings for years to come.
3. Protect From The Elements
This step is essential throughout the year, but especially so during the winter months when snow and ice are more common. Ice or snow blocking the airflow between your heat pump and outdoor air can lead to reduced efficiency and, even worse, damage to the unit. If you have a gas furnace, exhaust pipes need to stay clear to prevent combustion gas from leaking into the home. Protect your unit from potential damage that could result in a major repair, and be vigilant in checking your unit for potential damage. Clearance is key when it comes to heating systems.
4. Set Your Thermostat Strategically
Programmable thermostats are more cost-effective than ever, and setting them properly can lead to serious savings -- especially during the winter time. When setting your thermostat, even if yours isn’t programmable, picking the lowest comfortable temperature will lead to the most savings. You can always grab a sweater or blanket to add warmth. You can also reverse the direction of your ceiling fans to blow warm air downwards or use a space heater in rooms you spend the most time in to reduce heating your whole home. Don’t forget to turn down your thermostat by 10 to 15 degrees when you go to bed or leave the house. Your wallet, and your spouse, will thank you when you see your next energy bill!
5. Perform Heating Maintenance
It doesn’t matter if your home is heated by a gas furnace or electric heat pump, you’ll want to make sure your furnace is in full working order before winter weather hits your area. Many furnaces and HVAC systems require maintenance with some regularity. Following the manufacturer’s guidelines for having your home serviced will prevent potential damage and keep your systems running efficiently for longer. While a professional inspection is recommended annually, you can perform a basic inspection first to look for any of these issues.
For more ways to keep your home warm this winter, contact a Hiller Heating & Cooling technician.