By: Brian Schutt

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) — We’ve already seen near-freezing temperatures this season—an unfriendly reminder that winter is on its way.

It’s time to consider the most efficient ways to heat your home, and your thermostat is a very important part of the process. The age of it, how you manage it, even the location of it in your home can all affect your heating bill.

The air coming out of your furnace is the same temperature regardless of the weather conditions outside. Hiking up your thermostat doesn’t change how hot the air is, it just makes your furnace run longer. Brian Schutt of Homesense Heating & Cooling said that’s misinformation that can cause consumers to overwork their furnaces.

If you’re setting your thermostat to a high temperature, that will make your system run longer and likely overwork the system.

Schutt of Homesense Heating & Cooling said if your thermostat is set to 70 degrees, but the actual temperature in your home is 62 degrees, that probably means there’s an issue with the system you’ll need to get checked out.

Schutt recommends getting a programmable thermostat so you can automatically set the temperature lower when you aren’t at home.

Some other tips for keeping your home warm for less money:

  • Cover drafty windows with plastic or blankets
    Use space heaters that follow safety guidelines to heat a room instead of an entire drafty house
  • If you do use space heaters, make sure it has the UL label and a tip-over shut-off function, and never leave them unattended.

“A programmable thermostat will typically pay for itself in a year or so,” said Schutt.

The location of your thermostat is also important to avoid false readings. Schutt says the goal is to have the thermostat as centralized as possible.

“Away from direct sunlight, away from a kitchen…those areas where you’re going to get some false increases in temperature or reduction in temperature, so a basement is a bad location.”

As for the furnace itself, here are some tips to make it run more effectively:

  • Make sure the space around your furnace is clear of clutter, especially nothing flammable
  • Run your furnace for a few minutes before it’s actually need it
  • Change and clean filters on a regular basis

Schutt says most people have gas furnaces, and storing things like a lawnmower, gas can, or weed eater nearby is asking for a fire or explosion.

Many families wait to turn on their furnace until the temperature drops, only to discover it’s not working properly.

“I always say this is like going on a long road trip and not getting your oil changed,” said Schutt. “We’re going to have a four or five-month winter like we always do, and it’s predicted to be a really bad one.”

Brady Wilson
Brady Wilson

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