We all want ways to save money, especially when it comes to heating our homes in the winter, but it's good to be cautious. A lot of money-saving tips can be found floating on the web, and not all are actually effective. The following are a few of the more common heating mistakes, all of which will increase your energy bills without so much increasing the comfort of your home.
Closing Vents and Doors
It sounds like good sense to close the vents leading to unoccupied rooms as it would presumably cause the heater to run less. But this is not how it works. Heaters pull air from the home, heat it and then return it. The fewer vents that are open, the more difficult it is for heaters to pull the air.
Besides that, heaters will push the air into those closed vents, causing pressure to build up in the air ducts. This pressure will stress the blower and shorten the lifespan of your system.
Closing doors to unused rooms is also a bad idea. Both vents and doors should remain open to allow the system to deliver a consistent flow of heated air without any added stress.
Cranking Up the Thermostat
If you leave and come back to a freezing cold home, you might think about cranking up the thermostat. But the fact is that your heater does not blow out warmer air when the thermostat is set higher. A thermostat simply activates the heater and shuts it off when it reaches the set temperature, so setting the thermostat high only causes the heater to run longer and harder. The result will be wear and tear and, again, a shorter lifespan for the unit.
Turning the System On and Off
If you shut off the heater before leaving the house, you'll be faced with the situation described above. The best thing to do is to keep the heater on but lower the thermostat while you're away.
Using the Fireplace
Using your wood-burning fireplace might seem like a cost-effective alternative to using the central heating, but the problem is that the heated air will be sucked up through the damper in the chimney. Of course, you'll feel warm if you're sitting right next to the fire, but those in the other rooms will soon suffer from the chilliness.
The same goes for exhaust fans. Don't leave the bathroom or kitchen exhaust fans on for too long because they will suck up all the warm air.
Using Multiple Space Heaters
Space heaters are beneficial when used to heat a single room, but they can bump up your energy bills if you rely on them to heat an entire home or level. Plus, it should be realized that space heaters are a frequent cause of home fires.
Neglecting the Air Filters
Air filter replacement is a job that virtually any homeowner can take on. As for frequency, it depends on the quality of the filter itself. Cheap fiberglass filters will need replacing every 30 days while pleated filters can last up to six months.
Air filters keep dust and debris from entering the home through the return ducts, but over time, the dust build-up will hinder airflow and force the heating unit to work harder. Dirty ducts can also contribute to this problem, but cleaning them will require a professional.
Failing to Seal Doors and Windows
Doors and windows have cracks and gaps that, if left unsealed, will only conspire against you in the winter. Sealing these is essential. Even locking the windows helps put a seal on them.
Bottom line: Avoiding these mistakes will drastically improve your comfort and cut heating costs, as will scheduling atune-up for your heating system this fall. For all of your HVAC needs, contact Earnhardt Heating & Cooling at (336) 814-2613.