Enduring the chill of winter means ensuring the family home remains toasty all season. Winters in the Midwest can be harsh. Nebraska’s average low temperatures in January, for instance, remain at 10 degrees Fahrenheit, sometimes dropping to 0 degrees Fahrenheit for stretches.
A heated home is a necessity for comfort in winter. But heating the home is costly—the heating system consuming more energy than any other system in the home. A typical utility bill shows that heating costs make up about 42 percent of the total bill.
Warmth may be achieved while saving money if homeowners maintain and upgrade the heating equipment. The key to saving on heating costs is to use a whole-house approach, rather than rely on a furnace alone. Homeowners can save 30 percent on energy costs using effective tips, like these.
1. Use Solar Heating
Geographic locations with plenty of solar resources can be heated with an active solar heating system. Commercially available collectors can last for decades. Heating the home with a solar heating system will significantly reduce a home’s heating costs in winter.
Fluid, like air or liquid, is heated with solar energy. The solar heat is then transferred to the home’s interior or into storage for later use. Solar heat may be distributed by a central-forced air system or a radiant floor.
Individual rooms may be adequately heated by installing air collectors on the home’s rooftop. Air collectors may alternately be installed on south-facing walls of the home. Handy homeowners can easily build and install air collectors for a few hundred dollars.
2. Lower the Thermostat
While a warm home is a comfy home, homeowners who plan to save on energy costs are encouraged to lower the thermostat one to two degrees each winter. An energy efficient setting is 55 degrees Fahrenheit during the night and 60 degrees Fahrenheit during the day.
Avoid raising and lowering the thermostat frequently. Turning off the heat prior to leaving and then switching it on again upon returning will force the system to work doubly hard to reheat the home. Instead, aim for a steady yet pleasant range.
3. Invest in a Smart Thermostat
A smart thermostat can save homeowners $200 a year on energy costs. Smart thermostats may be controlled by a smartphone app or the device itself. The technology is extremely customizable, switching on or off based on current weather, number of people in the home or schedules.
4. Run a Space Heater
A small room may be effectively heated with a space heater. Keep in mind that space heaters supplement an existing heating system rather than replace it. Electric space heaters are among the safest types of space heaters to use inside the home.
When running a space heater in a room with inadequate heating, use caution. Electric space heaters are fire hazards when not monitored. Purchase a unit that features a tip-over safety switch; in the event the heater tips over, it will automatically shut off and prevent a potential fire.
5. Hang Curtains
Leaks in windows can allow cold air to enter the interior of the home. Drafts account for 10 to 20 percent of a heating bill. Remedy the issue by hanging thermal curtains along cold or drafty windows. Thermal curtains provide extra insulation via a layer of acrylic foam.
6. Seal Drafts
Weather stripping is ideal for movable sources, like windows. Caulking the window frames offers an additional layer of protection against the cold. When caulking the outside window frames, use exterior-grade caulk. A door draft stopper may be used underneath the door to block drafts.
7. Reverse Ceiling Fans
Reverse the ceiling fans during winter so that the blades rotate clockwise. The blades’ clockwise direction draws warm air that has risen to the ceiling downward and toward the center of the room. This tactic also prevents heated air from escaping through the roof or walls.
8. Light the Fireplace
Lighting a wood burning fireplace can effectively heat a room if used properly. Most often, the heat produced by the fireplace escapes through the chimney. Transferring the heat into the home requires a few practical strategies, like using dry and well-seasoned logs.
Sweeping the fireplace annually is necessary to benefit from the maximum heat a chimney can potentially provide. A clean chimney feeds more air into the fire, which then increases the heat output from the fireplace. Also open the damper fully to increase airflow to the fire.
9. Maintain Heating Systems
Maintaining the heating units on a regular basis will ensure efficiency. The filters in a gas furnace, for instance, should be changed periodically. Clean the furnace vents and blower. Also clean and repair the furnace ducts. Maintaining the furnace can be easily and inexpensively done.
Professional Fire Damage Restoration
Combining any of the above tips will effectively heat a home and save on energy bills. Homeowners are advised to take caution when utilizing any means to heat a home, as improper use can spark a home fire. When flames have engulfed your home, turn to ServiceMaster.
As the most reputable smoke and fire damage restoration service in the area, ServiceMaster is ready to return your ruined home to its pre-loss condition fast. Call us as soon as the fire is extinguished to ensure smoke damage has no chance to spread.
Upon our arrival, technicians work quickly to clean, repair and restore fire and smoke-damaged materials. The byproducts of fire can result in etching, discoloration and odors—all of which are handled by our experienced fire and smoke damage restoration specialists.
ServiceMaster of Lancaster County provides comprehensive fire restoration services, which includes water damage restoration. The water from the fire hose used to extinguish the fire will lead to moisture issues inside the property and requires prompt, professional attention.
Our trained teams of fire damage restoration technicians stand by 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to respond to emergency calls. We proudly serve the homeowners and business owners in the greater communities of Lincoln, Grand Island and Omaha, Nebraska.