As evenings become cooler and those frosty mornings are upon on us, it is officially the season for cozy sweaters, slippers, and a hot drink by the fire. In other words, it is the time of year that we inevitably begin to think of ways we can stay cozy and warm inside our homes, without breaking the bank to do so.
Heating a home might be your largest monthly expense, and while there’s not a whole lot you can do about the costs associated with natural gas, oil or electricity, there are several approaches you can take to keep your heating costs down. The trick is to avoid some very common mistakes that many homeowners make without even realizing it.
What heating mistakes should you be aware of and avoid this season? Let’s take a look.
Limiting Airflow Throughout Your Home
Heating your home essentially comes down to the size of your house and how warm you’d like it to be. If you think that closing doors and vents will lower the square footage requiring heat, thus reducing your heating bill, you’re making a big mistake.
Your heating system is built to deliver even airflow throughout every room in your home. Closing vents and doors negatively impacts your ducts, increasing the air pressure, which can cause leaks and other damage. Any leaks that occur cause warm air to escape, which of course defeats the initial goal of all of this to begin with. Suddenly, what you assumed would help heat your home more efficiently is doing the exact opposite.
Remember that your system is designed to evenly heat your home, so playing around with airflow isn’t going to provide you with the benefits you’re after.
Overlooking Drafts and Leaks
Can’t seem to warm up no matter what you do? While windows are often the culprit of drafts, it’s important to also pay attention to whether your basement or attic could be contributing to that unpleasant chill in the air. If your house doesn’t seem to be heating up regardless of the thermostat temperature, it’s time to investigate these often-forgotten areas of the home.
If you can see noticeable large holes in the foundation or roof, be sure to take care of these immediately. Your house will never reach that desirable temperature if the warm air from your furnace is battling the cold air from outside making its way in. Failing to patch significant leaks in your basement or attic will cause your heating bill to skyrocket.
Failing to Replace Old Filters and Clean Vents
If you haven’t added filter replacement and vent cleanup to your weekly chores list, now is the time to do it! Each of these components directly impacts the quality of air being circulated throughout your home, as well as whether your heating system functions properly. A good rule of thumb for homeowners is to never go more than three months without replacing your air filter. You shouldn’t have any trouble replacing your filter, so, if possible, we recommend that you aim to replace yours as much as once a month for optimal performance.
Tending to floor vents is something many homeowners overlook but shouldn’t, especially if you have pets. Hair quickly gets trapped inside, along with food crumbs and dust, which can affect how your air is circulating. If gunk isn’t removed regularly, it also makes it difficult for warm air to pass through your ductwork and throughout your home where you want it.
Turning the Thermostat Up Too High
It’s never a good idea to crank your thermostat up to its greatest capacity, regardless of how cold you might be. Your heater may have the capability to turn your home into a sweaty sauna but it can take a toll on the longevity (and efficiency) of your heating system, so we would steer clear of this!
We aren’t suggesting you shiver in agony but setting your thermostat at a comfortable temperature will keep your heating system operating as it should be and, most notably, keep heating costs down for you at the same time.
Did you know that every degree over 72 degrees can increase your utility bills by 1-3%? This seemingly small difference can add up to hundreds of dollars over the season; money that could be saved or spent more wisely elsewhere. If 70 degrees doesn’t cut it, do your best to use alternative methods to stay warm such as covering yourself with a fuzzy blanket or dressing in layers. After all, it’s free and usually does the job just fine!
Keeping the Curtains Closed
We know what you’re thinking: “Shouldn’t the curtains be closed to keep the cold air out?” The answer is yes, throughout the night, but during the daytime when it’s beautiful and sunny, that extra light can do wonders for heating up your home. Plus, who doesn’t love some bright sunlight to improve their mood? Best of all, on bright days, this extra warmth means you won’t have to crank the thermostat up so as high.
If your curtains are more in place to deter drafts, this is usually a sign of a window issue at hand. It may be time to consider replacing your drafty windows or, at the very least, time to lay fresh caulk around the edges to seal visible cracks.
Forgetting About General Maintenance
Some mistakes are more costly than others. HVAC maintenance, for instance, is a crucial process you don’t want to forget about. Why? It can have a substantial impact on the efficiency and overall effectiveness of your HVAC system. You should have this maintenance performed in the spring or early fall in preparation for the cold months ahead. If you haven’t scheduled this in yet, we urge you to do so as soon as possible for peace of mind.
Looking for the Best Price for Heating Oil & Propane?
At Brown’s Fuels, we know heat! We provide quality home heating solutions to both residents and commercial businesses.
We’re currently offering a special fall promotion to residents throughout the GTA and surrounding cities. New propane customers enjoy free tank installation – up to $350 value and a 12-month free tank rental – up to $199 value. New furnace oil customers can count on a free tank inspection – up to $150 value. With incredible savings, now is the time to switch your home heating supplier if you’ve been considering it!
Contact our team for additional information on how we can help you save this winter. We deliver the propane and furnace oil that keeps hundreds of rural homeowners, farmers, and countryside estates warm.