When the Temperatures Drop in the SE, These Heating Tips Will Keep You WarmPublished on: October 24, 2014
If you live in the Southeast, you know that while we have milder winters than the folks up north, it can still get mighty cold, and staying warm on a budget can be difficult. The price of energy is steadily rising, and you can only wear so many layers of sweaters to stay warm when the temperatures drop. That’s why careful planning in the fall and utilizing proven strategies for staying cozy in the winter are essential if you’re looking to save money this heating season while saving money on energy bills. These heating tips will have you basking in warmth without breaking the bank in the coming months.
Schedule an HVAC Tune-Up
The annual furnace or heat pump inspection and tune-up is your first defense against high energy bills and your first strategy for staying warmer for less money. A tune-up helps ensure the system operates at top efficiency, prevents common heating problems, extends the life of equipment. In addition to the tune-up, here are some tasks you should perform this fall to ensure the system keeps you as warm as possible.
- Stock up on good-quality air filters. Check the air filter monthly and replace it when it’s caked with dust. A clean filter is essential for optimum airflow and efficiency, protecting the system against dust build-up and improving indoor air quality to help prevent wintertime illnesses.
- Install a programmable thermostat to improve heating efficiency. A programmable thermostat allows you to customize thermostat settings based on when you’re at home, at work or asleep, and it can help considerably reduce heating bills.
- Shore up ductwork. Seal loose connections with mastic sealant or metal tape, and check the connections at the main unit and the registers. Insulate ducts that span unconditioned areas like the attic or crawl space to keep the air inside warm as it moves through and prevent water damage in these spaces due to condensation.
- Keep obstructions away from the registers. Drapes and furniture can block the warm air from effectively reaching your rooms, reducing comfort and resulting in more frequent cycling.
- Reverse the direction of ceiling fans by flipping the switch at the top. This will push down the warm air that gathers near the ceiling and distribute it evenly throughout your rooms.
Seal Air Leaks
When outdoor air infiltrates the home through tiny cracks and gaps in the home’s envelope, your comfort level decreases due to drafts and energy bills rise because the system is working overtime to compensate for the cold air entering and the warm air leaving. All lists of heating tips should include air sealing. All you need is a roll of weatherstripping and a tube of caulk. If windows are particularly drafty, cover them with plastic after air sealing.
- Install weatherstripping between movable parts of doors and windows.
- Caulk around doors and windows where their frames meet the wall.
- Caulk along the tops and bottoms of baseboards and around recessed lighting fixtures.
- Install door sweeps on the bottoms of exterior doors.
- Caulk around pipes and vents that move through exterior walls.
- Install insulating gaskets behind outlets and light switches on exterior walls.
Tips for Staying Warmer
Once your winterizing tasks are complete, your heating system should operate much more efficiently and keep you warmer. Still, there are ways that you can stay warm while lowering the thermostat. For every degree you set back the thermostat for at least eight hours, you’ll save up to 2 percent on heating bills. Keep the thermostat at 68 when you’re at home, and use these heating tips to stay warm:
- Invest in a good pair of thermal underwear and wear them when you’re home.
- Keep throw blankets scattered around the house, and use them while you’re working on the computer or watching TV.
- Cook lots of stews and roasts that will keep the kitchen toasty warm. When you’re done with the oven, turn it off but leave the door open and let the residual heat warm up your rooms.
- Move around. When you’re feeling chilled, do some jumping jacks or hop on the treadmill to get your blood moving and raise your body temperature.
For more heating tips that will ensure your comfort this winter, please contact us at AirConditioningSouthEast.com to find a contractor in your area.