Avoid these 9 common heating mistakes
When those rare winter cold fronts roll in, Houston homeowners naturally turn on their heaters to stay warm. However, there may be a few mistakes being made along the way.
For starters, you should stay warm with an efficient heater serviced annually by the experts at Richmond’s Air—that way your home will be comfortable all season as winter gives way to spring.
Next, avoid these common heating mistakes:
Mistake #1: Allowing air to escape
One of the most common heating mistakes is allowing warm air to seep out of the home. Your home may appear to be airtight, but there may be several areas that allow warm air to flow right out of the house.
Focus on windows and doors by adding weatherstripping where needed. Caulk any openings along the walls or baseboards, too.
Close and lock windows, as the locking mechanism fully seals this area shut.
In addition, remember to turn off exhaust systems when you’re finished in any part of the home. Leaving the overhead exhaust running in the kitchen or bathroom will actively suck warm air out of your home. The heater must work harder to warm the remaining air mass as a result.
Mistake #2: Leaving the flue open
In wintertime, some Houston homeowners turn to their fireplace as a cozy solution to warm their houses. However, fireplaces aren’t as efficient as you might think. In fact, the majority of the heat produced escapes right up the chimney.
You must keep the flue open in order for the smoke to dissipate. As a result, cold air can eventually make its way into the home as the fire dies down. Stick to furnace use whenever possible, and close the flue when you’re not using the fireplace.
Mistake #3: Using an inefficient space heater
If you have a big house, then saving energy is paramount. If your whole home (central) heater and/or fireplace isn’t cutting it, you might elect to use a space heater to warm 1 or 2 drafty rooms. Although this logic makes sense, it’s a common heating mistake.
Many portable heaters use a lot of electricity and don’t heat homes as efficiently as the furnace, which drives up your heating and cooling costs. Instead, we suggest heating your entire home with a whole-home furnace that is designed to warm your specific space.
Mistake #4: Skipping furnace maintenance
Assuming that your furnace will work every season without any professional inspections is a gamble that will eventually lead to expensive repairs and poor efficiency. Each year, preferably in the late summer or fall (before winter cold arrives), you should contact heating professionals near you who can clean, adjust and test your furnace. In the meantime, don’t forget to replace or clean your air filter at least once a month if the system is being used on a daily basis.
Mistake #5: Improperly setting the thermostat
Your furnace works best when it is programmed to a steady, reasonable temperature. Temporarily setting it in the 80s or dropping it down to the 50s will damage the system over time. Most professionals suggest a temperature range of 68 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit when you’re home and active.
Most furnaces will run with maximum efficiency in this range, which saves you money in the long term. Forcing your home heater to work too hard reduces its lifespan and raises your energy bills.
Mistake #6: Blocking the sunlight
Yes, it’s a good idea to close the curtains at night to help keep the warm air circulating inside, but make sure to open them up again in the morning. Allowing the natural sunlight to stream through the windows during the winter will help to warm the interior so that your furnace doesn’t have to activate quite as often.
Blocking the sunlight keeps your home cool, so your heating bill will rise as a result. Natural sunlight also produces a cheerful feeling on those cold, winter days.
Mistake #7: Sealing unused vents
Many Houston homeowners want to heat certain areas of their houses without wasting the warm air in other rooms. As such, they’ll seal off certain vents. This practice, however, puts strain on the furnace.
Allow all of your vents to remain open so that you feel comfortable both physically and financially.
Mistake #8: Forgetting to adjust the thermostat
A key winter energy-saving tip is paying attention to the thermostat before you leave the home for the day. If the weather is mild outside, consider shutting off your heating system altogether as a well-insulated home should hold some heat while you’re gone.
If you must leave the heater on during the day, set it at a lower temperature than when you’re home—that way the system won’t have to work so hard to heat an empty home.
Also, consider calling an HVAC professional to talk about installing a smart thermostat. These products are accessible from your smartphone, which allows you to control the temperature of your home from any location.
Mistake #9: Ignoring the humidifier
When a room is cold, the air is typically dry. Consider adding a humidifier to the space to help warm up the air. Think of tropical regions in the world. A hot day is usually associated with humid conditions. Moist air traps the heat, which makes your skin feel warmer.
Apply this concept to your home’s interior to avoid having to turn up the heat too much. The furnace and humidifier can work together to make your home more comfortable.