If you follow our blog, you already know the basics of having a warm, energy-efficient home this winter. You recognize the three most common furnace problems homeowners face, understand how to prep your heating system for the season, and know how to make the most of your programmable thermostat.
But even when you put all these tips to good use, it's still possible to make a few of the mistakes we list here. Maximize your heater this winter by avoiding these common mistakes-we promise you'll be happier with your home, your heater, and your energy bill if you do.
1. Cranking Up the Thermostat to Quickly Heat a Chilly Home
If you come home to a cold house, your first instinct might be to change the thermostat from 67 degrees to 78 degrees or even higher. Some homeowners reason that cranking up the temperature so drastically encourages the heater to work faster than it would otherwise so their home will get warmer faster.
However, thermostats don't actually work faster the higher they're set-they run at a consistent speed, no matter what. Turning your thermostat up to a very high temperature just forces the heater to run for an hour or more without a break in between. Your home will still heat slowly, and you'll waste money while you wait for it to do so.
Instead, use a programmable thermostat to turn your heat down to a cooler temperature while you're away. Set the thermostat to start heating the home by a few degrees thirty minutes or so before you usually get home.
If you don't have a programmable thermostat, consider getting one installed and zoning your home. Otherwise, just turn your thermostat up by a few degrees or more instead of drastically changing the temperature every time you come home.
2. Turning the Thermostat Down Too Low
On the other hand, keeping your home too cold can cause similarly costly problems-or even more expensive ones. If you've never owned a home before or if you recently moved to Colorado from a warmer climate, you might not know that frozen pipes are a distinct issue facing homes in this area.
If you leave to visit family over the holidays and turn off the heat entirely, you might come home to find that your basement or crawlspace is flooded with stale water and that you now have to pay thousands of dollars to repair your pipes and restore your property.
During a cold snap, temperatures in un-heated homes can reach freezing degrees. If your pipes freeze, the water expands and bursts the pipes. To avoid this problem, keep your heater on when you leave on vacation, but turn it down to the low 60s or mid 50s so you don't waste money on heating a home you aren't in.
If leaving a gas heater on while you're away worries you, ask a neighbor to drive past your house every day or so and ensure that everything looks fine from the outside. But if you keep the heat down low and ensure your fire alarms and carbon monoxide alarms are in working condition, you shouldn't have anything to worry about.
It's also a good idea to add insulation to colder rooms in your house or rooms with exposed pipes, especially the basement and attic. You probably don't need to worry much about the pipes in your home's interior bursting in your absence-exposed pipes are at a much higher risk, and you can minimize your chances of disaster (and decrease the amount of heat you lose through thin walls) by putting in more insulation.
3. Ignoring Your Ceiling Fans
Some homeowners think their ceiling fans are only good for the summer-but they can actually keep your home warmer in the winter. Remember learning that heat rises? If you reverse the way the fans spin (which means changing them from counterclockwise to clockwise), the fans create an upward draft that pulls and circulates the warm air back down through the room.
4. Waiting Too Long to Fix Heating Problems
We're mentioned this before, but the advice holds true in every season: the longer you wait to schedule a maintenance call for a given appliance, the higher your chances that the appliance will break down or wear out completely. If you run an old or broken heater, you'll also waste more money on energy bills than you have to. Don't wait until the end of winter to fix a struggling heater. Instead, call a professional to assess the situation.
When you avoid these four mistakes, you can look forward to enjoying your pleasantly warm home all winter long without dealing with the hassle of high utility bills, broken pipes, or terribly chilly rooms. If you want to get a new furnace or ask about a repair, contact a member of our capable team. We'll make your winter warm in no time.