The basic principles of efficient heating are simple: keep warm air in, cold air out, and your heater or furnace in tip-top shape. There are a few other steps you can take to ensure a cozy winter without resorting to wearing a parka indoors.
- When the heat is on, set your thermostat as low as possible. Lower the thermostat to 55 degrees at night. Even a few degrees difference will lead to considerable savings. Remember, warm clothing provides an excellent source of insulation, as does adding another blanket to your bed. There are also smart thermostats that you can get where you can pre-program the temperature. Turn the heat down when no one is at home.
- Keep windows next to the thermostat closed tightly so the rest of the house is not several degrees warmer than the area around the thermostat.
- Make sure your heating system is operating efficiently. If you have a furnace or heat pump, check the filter at least every other month during the winter. Clean the filter as needed and replace it when it appears to be worn out. Have a professional tune an oil-fired system once a year. Gas-fired systems and heat pumps need to be tuned only once every two years.
- If you use an electric furnace for heating, consider a heat pump. These pumps are expensive, but they can reduce your total use of electricity for both heating and cooling by 30-40 percent.
- Close off unoccupied rooms or rooms not currently in use. This means shutting the heat or air conditioning vents, unless you have a heat pump. Shutting vents in this case could harm the heat pump.
- Keep your fireplace damper closed when not in use. It also helps to install a glass front to keep warm air from going up the chimney.
- Use insulating shades on the windows, this will help keep the cold out out and the warm air in!
By following these basic principals of efficient heating this winter you will save money and stay warm.