Brrr! Winter is in full swing with single-digit temperatures hitting parts of Northeast Ohio. No doubt you’ve been cranking up your furnace recently. And, with the coldest couple of months looming ahead, your heating system is about to do a lot more work. The good news is that you can help make your furnace’s job easier, which can improve your home’s efficiency and help you lower the cost of a cozy home. Here are some helpful hacks:
1. Set Ceiling Fans to Rotate Clockwise
Hot air rises, right? So, the direction of your ceiling fan’s rotation actually makes a difference as to whether you are sucking that warm air up into the ceiling or pushing it back down for your family to enjoy. In cold months, you always want a clockwise rotation.
2. Eliminate Drafts From Windows and Doors
Never let warm air escape! Seal or caulk any air leaks around windows or door frames. Consider purchasing inexpensive weatherstripping and using a draft stopper to cover the cracks under your exterior doors. Even locking your windows can help keep that warm air inside where it belongs.
3. Invest in a Programmable Thermostat
A programmable thermostat allows you to automatically lower the temperature during the hours you are typically sleeping or away from the home, and then bring it back up to a toasty temperature when you’re awake and around. Lowering the temperature just a few degrees can cut your heating cost by as much as 10%, so this definitely adds up over time!
4. Keep Your Vents Clean and Clear
Ever notice dust and debris clinging to your vents? This obstructs air flow and makes your furnace use more energy. Vacuum your vents regularly. Also avoid placing any large pieces of furniture – like couches or beds – directly in front of your vents.
5. Run a Humidifier
Your home’s humidity level should be around 40%. If your indoor air is too dry, it feels cooler and doesn’t hold the heat as well… which tricks your furnace into working harder. Depending on the severity of your humidity issue, you may need a whole-home humidifier, or a simple portable unit might be enough.
6. Don’t Heat What You Don’t Use
Do you have a guest room you never use? Attic or basement space that you seldom enter? You can close and seal off the vents to these areas, so that you aren’t wasting energy warming them.
7. Take Advantage of the Sun
Don’t forget that the sun is free and it’s available every day! Even on cloudy days, the sun is a powerful heat source. Open your blinds or drapes during peak sun hours to let some natural light and warmth into your home.
8. Change Your Air Filter
A clogged air filter forces your furnace to work harder to move that toasty air through the filter and into your home. You should change the filter at least once a season, but check it often because there are additional factors (such as having pets or smoking in the home) that could require much more frequent filter changes.
9. Dress for the Weather – Head to Toe
Frigid winter temperatures outside doesn’t mean that it should be t-shirt weather inside your home. It sounds like a no-brainer, but if you want to save on heating, dress in layers, and throw on a sweater before you crank up the thermostat. Also, you’d be surprised at what a difference slippers and a hat can make.
10. Schedule Your Annual Furnace Tune-Up
Your furnace manufacturer requires an annual tune-up for a reason, and that’s so a professional can inspect your heating system, make adjustments, clean its components and ensure that it’s running at peak efficiency. All to help reduce your heating bills!