Tips & advice from Kelowna Electricians at Epic Electric
‘Tis the season to be jolly, and, as it’s winter, ‘tis also the season to stay warm. Heating accounts for about 50 percent of a home’s daily energy usage, so energy efficiency during the winter months is a vital consideration for everyone. In this article we discuss energy efficient heating tips that will help you conserve heat and ensure that the amount of your heating bill doesn’t dampen your Christmas spirit.
CHECK THE THERMOSTAT
A programmable thermostat can make it easy and convenient to set the temperature in your home. Practice zone heating by not having the temperature higher than required in rooms you are not using. The right controls will let you set your heating and hot water to switch on and off when you need them, or set how warm you want each area of your home to be. Aim to set your main room thermostat somewhere between the national average of 18°C and 21°C. According to government research, lowering the temperature 2-3 degrees from the average maximises energy savings. So try setting your thermostat lower and seeing if you’re still warm enough. When you’re asleep or out of the house, program the thermostat at a lower temperature to conserve heat and save money.
USE SPACE HEATERS
Use space heaters in the rooms that you actually use, rather than trying to heat the whole house with central heating. Space heaters are used to heat a small space and are normally portable or fitted to a wall. Most space heaters use gas or electricity, with the latter versions being safer and more efficient. Electrical space heaters turn all the electrical energy they use into heat, and as such are very efficient. The cheapest to run are halogen heaters and oil-filled radiators, while fan heaters are the most expensive. Electrical space heaters consume a lot of electricity if used to heat up a space quickly, so use a gradual increase in temperature to heat the room. Don’t have a space heater on longer than necessary or warmer than necessary (the higher the wattage of an electrical space heater the more it’ll cost you), and never use space heaters to warm your entire house; it’s far too expensive.
KEEP OUT THE DRAFTS
Insulate your home to keep heat from escaping. Make sure your ductwork is properly sealed. Gaps in joints of the ductwork can allow cold outside air into your home, decreasing the temperature and increasing your heating bill. Wherever possible you want to eliminate any kind of window and door drafts. This is especially important for rooms with baseboard heaters, which, though effective and cheap to install, are one of the most expensive and inefficient heating options for the average homeowner. Sealant strips are cheap and easy to apply; use them for window and door drafts. If you have a fireplace, make sure the damper is closed. A fireplace damper, usually located in the chimney just above the fireplace, is a lid meant to seal your fireplace shut when it is not in use. This is necessary so that heated air from your home will not escape up the chimney when the fireplace is not in use. An open or broken damper that doesn’t close fully will increase your heating costs. When using your fireplace, your room is being heated so turn down your thermostat a few degrees so you’re not heating the room twice over.
Warming yourself is a lot cheaper than trying to warm your whole house, so dress warm, even indoors. This will allow you to set your thermostat a few degrees lower and still remain comfortably warm. On sunny days, open shades and curtains to let the sun warm your home naturally. Put down rugs on bare floors, and keep yourself warm with heating pads or blankets. Hot air rises, so if you have a fan revere its direction so it spins clockwise and it will help circulate warm air throughout the entire room. Don’t pay for heating you’re not using.
Schedule a regular service to check the structural integrity and operational efficiency of your heating system. Keep air vents clear of obstructions such as furniture, curtains and rugs. If you heat with a furnace, replace your furnace filter once a month or as needed. For heat pumps, clean or change filters once a month or as needed and clean outdoor coils whenever they appear dirty.
Having your heating and cooling systems professionally serviced to keep them running at maximum efficiency will save you money in the long run and offer you peace of mind. Following these tips will keep you warm this Christmas and ensure that even though you may overspend on Christmas presents you won’t be overspending on your heating bill.