With rising energy costs and dipping temperatures, homeowners across the country are concerned about how to keep their residences warm without destroying their monthly budget. However, by making a few simple changes, you can warm your air economically and save some serious cash. Here are three ways to keep your home warmer without breaking the bank.
1. Follow the Sun
Although solar heat gain might seem like your biggest enemy during the warmer summer months, it can become an incredible source of free heating during the winter. Since incoming sunlight can warm your home, focus on opening the blinds and curtains on the east side of your home in the morning and the west side of your home in the late afternoon.
If you have awnings that cover your windows to prevent incoming heat during the summer, consider removing them during the winter. Since awnings can reduce solar heat gain by as much as 77% when installed on west-facing windows, taking them down for a few months can significantly improve your passive heating efforts.
To trap heated air indoors during the darker parts of the day, consider installing thermal insulating curtains. These curtains contain panels that are known to block heat transfer, keeping warmth indoors where it belongs. In fact, thick draperies designed to cover the entire window panel during the evening can help to reduce your home's heat loss by 25%.
If you can tell that the air around your windows is drafty, focus on sealing drafts with spray foam insulation and securing curtains with magnets, clips, or hook and loop tape. When the sun comes out again in the morning, open blinds and curtains as the sun starts to peek through.
2. Don't Block Air Vents or Returns
When your HVAC system was originally installed, professionals poured over the balance of the system to ensure that every room would be properly heated and cooled. Things like heating vents and cold air returns were carefully calculated, which is why covering a vent or two with rugs or furniture can be detrimental to your home's indoor climate.
For example, if you block a cold air return with a sofa, your HVAC system won't be able to access cold air as effectively, which means that it won't be able to heat the room quickly. To eliminate these kinds of issues, go through the rooms in your home that seem chilly, and look for obstacles that could be causing problems.
If you spot a rug or furniture piece that could be blocking airflow, consider rearranging the room to improve the efficiency of your furnace.
3. Think About When to Use Heat-Generating Appliances
If you are like most people, you might toss in a load of laundry before you pick up your kids for school or enjoy that afternoon television show. Unfortunately, using heat-generating appliances when you don't need the warmth is a terrible waste of energy.
Instead, focus on using heat-generating appliances like dishwashers, ovens, dryers, and stovetops during the coldest parts of the day, such as the early morning. In addition to naturally warming your home, you can get a head start on your daily chores. Also, since some heat-generating appliances pose fire hazards, using these devices when you are home to enjoy the heat could lower your risk of unintentionally sparking a blaze.
Unfortunately, even the most diligent homeowner can still struggle to keep their home comfortable if their furnace is experiencing problems. To find out if your system is operating properly, contact Morey Plumbing, Heating & Cooling, Inc. In addition to carefully inspecting your furnace for trouble, we can also recommend ways to save money on your climate control needs. Take control of your energy usage today by making a simple call.