By: Brian Schutt
Yesterday we looked at a few areas that can help save money on heating your home in the Indianapolis area this winter. Today we’ll continue that theme by talking about how to better use the heat you have, as well as using technology to add efficiency. There’s no silver bullet out there, but if you combine these ideas, you’ll definitely see savings.
Use the Heat You Have
– Turn the spin on ceiling fans. Heat rises and can gather around the ceiling. Unless you’re hanging out with Lionel Richie at your house, you won’t feel that heat. Changing the spin on your ceiling fan can move that heat to the rest of the room.
– Keep oven & dishwasher open after use. You may want to write this one down. The oven and dishwasher are hot, and that heat can actually keep you warm the same way as the heat that comes out of the furnace – no joke. It doesn’t mean you’re going to stop using your furnace, but in your kitchen for 15 – 20 minutes after using those appliances, maybe you’ll be able to turn your furnace down or it will take longer to cycle. We’re talking about small things combined to make a big difference.
– Open blinds when sun is shining through & close when not. Again, pretty basic here, but the sun is hot. Even when it’s cold outside you can feel heat if you’re in the sun. If you’re home, use it. (See picture on right of little girl who is warm because of the sun.)
– Mind your fireplace. Contrary to how it might feel when you’re standing in front of it, a fireplace actually pulls warm air out of the house. If you’re going to have one, remember to close the flue afterwards and you may retain some heat from the smoldering fire.
– Consider installing a programmable thermostat. We don’t always remember to set the temps appropriately when we leave – the programmable thermostat allows you to not pay for heating an empty home. Savings vary on size of home, equipment and energy costs, but estimates are a heating savings of $25 – $200 monthly depending on how aggressively you drop the temps.
– Change your filters more. Colder temps = more furnace cycles = more air being pulled through your filter. Just like changing your oil every 3,000 miles, your filters changes should be usage based. In Indiana winters, that means a change every 4-6 weeks. Not doing so leads to restricted airflow and your furnace exerting more energy. Your system is engineered to have a certain amount of air flow, and a clogged filter can not only add cost but put your system at risk of other more serious issues.
– Space heaters. If you’re anything like my family, you tend to congregate in specific areas together. Eating dinner, you might be in your dining room. Catching up on your favorite actor David Caruso in his CBS smash hit, CSI Miami, you might be in a den or living room. You get the idea; you tend to congregate. The whole house does not need to be 70 degrees if you’re in one room, right. This is when a space heater can be a great option. You can find them at just about any store – but be sure to turn them off when you’re out of the house, as many home fires start with space heaters.