Since it’s harder to warm a structure than to cool it down, many home and business owners have higher utility costs during winter months. Winter causes many people to take extraordinary measures to achieve their ideal temperature or to reduce their utility costs. Though well-intentioned, these measures often do more harm than good. Here are five mistakes to avoid when heating your home this winter.
Keeping the Temperature Too High
A common mistake people make in the winter is keeping the thermostat set too high. This doesn’t mean that a homeowner needs to suffer a chilly house, and people should try to get their home to a comfortable temperature. However, there are limits to how much your heating system can do. If it’s 20 degrees outside, you aren’t going to be able to get the temperature inside to 80 degrees; thermodynamics are working against you. At a certain point, your home will lose heat faster than the heating unit can add it. Instead of making it warmer, setting the thermostat higher than what can be achieved causes a strain on the heater.
If your HVAC unit isn’t heating the space enough at all, it could be a sign that it’s time for some repairs or maintenance. Contact KD Mechanical if you need someone to exam the efficiency of your heating system.
Keeping the Temperature Too Low
Keeping the thermostat set too high can put a strain on your heating system, but allowing things to get too cold can be equally bad for your home and utility bill. For example, if you leave for vacation, you still need to keep the house heated to prevent freezing weather from damaging pipes and plumbing. Even if you’re only gone for most of the day, turning the HVAC unit completely off is less cost-efficient than turning down the thermostat. Allowing a structure to get as cold as the winter weather will allow, then trying to reheat the entire home to room temperature risks the same kind of strain as keeping the temperature too high. In both cases, the heating unit is working harder than necessary to compensate for the difference in temperature.
Closing Unused Vents
Conventional wisdom isn’t always the best wisdom, and that is the case for closing vents in unused rooms. Many homeowners close unused vents because they think this strengthen’s air flow to other rooms. Vents in cars work this way, but the heating system in your home is more complicated than your car. The entire HVAC system of your home was designed with ducts and vents that are specifically designed to send a certain amount of air to each part of the house. Closing vents in one room will disturb this operational balance and increases stress on your system since the unused room is still being heated, but less efficiently. This reduced efficiency increases utility costs and can hurt a heating unit’s longevity.
Forgetting to Lock Your Windows and Leaving Exhaust Fans On
It’s vital that a home has a heating system that can effectively heat a house, but it’s also essential that homeowners prevent heat from escaping the home. A simple thing that can be done to avoid heat from escaping is locking all the windows in the house. Locking the windows creates a tighter seal that keeps the cold air out. Similarly, exhaust fans in the kitchen and the bathroom are pulling air hot air out the house, so they should only be used when necessary and turned off once you’re finished with them.
Leaving Curtains Closed During Sunny Days
One thing that many people overlook is the value of heating their home via sunlight. Just opening your curtains can lead to reduced energy costs. Like a greenhouse, some of the energy that comes into your house via sunlight through windows gets trapped inside your home, which heats it a little. Even if it only adds a little extra heat, the solar warmth reduces the amount of energy it takes to heat the structure. This extra heat means your HVAC unit gets a short break during the warmest hours of the day and your utility bills can be a little lower.
Make sure your HVAC unit is working at maximum efficiency by getting an inspection done by KD Mechanical. Our technicians will ensure that your unit is heating your home as much as possible without wasting energy. Contact us on our website to schedule an appointment.