When it comes to home heating, you may be doing more harm than good. We'll look at common mistakes and how to remedy them so you can save money and energy.
Once the temperatures start to drop, you may need to start thinking about home heating again. As a society, we are increasingly aware of the effects heating has on our planet and our wallets. To not waste money or excess energy, we’ve compiled a list of the most common home heating mistakes.
1. Heating an Empty House
If you’re out of the house most of the day because of work or school, or you go away for the weekend, there’s no point in having the heating on. By paying extra money to install a programmable thermostat, you can ensure that the house is only heated when you want it to be. You can set it to go off during the day, and come back on before you come home so you can enjoy walking into a cozy house.
2. Closing Vents
Depending on the size of your house, there may be rooms that you don’t use as much throughout the colder months. You may think it’s worth closing the vents in some of the rooms to redirect the heat to the rooms you do use. However, the ductwork in most homes is designed for the air to be evenly distributed, and by blocking certain sections off, your heating will not work as efficiently.
3. Leaving Exhaust Fans On
Typically, you use an exhaust fan in the kitchen or the bathroom to help rid the room of moist or smelly air. As soon as the moisture or smells have dissipated, it’s important to turn the exhaust fan off. If you leave it on, the air you are heating and pumping into your home will be sucked out.
4. Not Changing the Air Filter
If you have a dirty air filter in your home, your home heating system has to work much harder to push the warm air out. Having dirty air filters in your home also increases your risk of respiratory problems. By regularly replacing the air filters, your home heating system will work more effectively and efficiently, saving you money and energy.
Find out how to clean air naturally as well as maybe choose some houseplants that you like, many of which have air-purifying qualities.
5. Blocking the Heat Source
There are several different heating systems used in homes throughout the country, including radiators, electric baseboard heating, and central air. Regardless of which home heating system you have, blocking the source of heat is one of the biggest home heating mistakes.
If you place large pieces of furniture in front of a radiator or vent, the heat cannot circulate in the room properly. To solve this home heating problem, ensure your heat source is unobstructed.
6. Not Understanding Your Thermostat
If you want to heat your home quickly, your first thought might be to crank up the thermostat. Changing the thermostat setting has no bearing on how quickly your home will heat up, but it will affect how hard your system has to work to meet your demand. This can cause your system to work inefficiently and can cost you more money in the long run.
At the same time, setting your thermostat too low when you’re not in the home can also have a negative effect — as the home heating system needs to work that much harder to bring the house up to the set temperature.
7. Overheating Your Home
The vast majority of people keep their homes much warmer than they need to be simply because they don’t know the recommended temperatures for home heating. There are recommended thermostat temperature settings for winter that can help save money and energy, but a rough guide for various rooms include:
- Bedrooms: 60–65 °F
- Bathroom: 71–75 °F
- Kitchen: 68 °F
- Living room: 68–72 °F
Kitchens can be kept cooler because the temperature will increase as you cook, and large appliances like fridges and ovens give off heat. Bedrooms should also be kept cool because thermoregulation affects sleep quality.
8. Ignoring Drafts
As the cooler temperatures set in, you’re more likely to discover drafts that exist in your home. While seemingly insignificant, this can end up increasing your home heating bill.
First, ensure that all your windows are locked — this provides a tighter seal and won’t let heat escape. Next, check all other windows and doors to see if the seals are tight. If you notice cold air coming through, you’ll want to add caulk, weatherstripping, window film, or door sweepers to keep the heat in.
9. Not Servicing Your Furnace
Like other major household appliances, your furnace needs regular maintenance to perform at peak efficiency. You may think that it’s a waste of money to have a check-up when everything seems to be working well, but you may end up losing more money in the long run if your home heating system isn’t functioning effectively. It’s always better to do preventative maintenance on your home heating system than to wait until something becomes an emergency.
Other Ways to Save on Home Heating Costs
There are still a few other tricks you can use to save on your home heating bill during the colder months:
- Turn the temperature down as far as you can handle, or don’t even turn the heating on at all. If that is an option for you, make extra sure to prevent mold from forming. If you’re on the fence about whether it’s cold enough, find out when you should turn the heat on.
- Use thick curtains to trap the heat overnight.
- Switch your ceiling fan, so the blade is spinning clockwise and at a slow speed. This way, the warm air close to the ceiling will be pushed down and distributed throughout the room.
- Lower the heat setting on your water heater.
- Wear warm clothing inside the house and drink plenty of hot beverages, like homemade hot cocoa, a super healthy hot lemon water, or our vegan golden matcha latte.
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