10 Tips for Keeping Your Home Warm and Cozy

couple in warm home

Winter is approaching, and we all want to stay warm. If you reside where winters are harsh, you know a lot goes into preparation for the months ahead. Of course, we’ll do the fun stuff like snuggling under a comforter with a cup of hot cocoa. Unfortunately, those things alone won’t do the trick. For many people, central heating systems are essential to getting through the winter comfortably. More than 70 percent of energy consumption is spent on keeping your home warm during the harsh winter months. That type of energy is expensive, but there are ways to cut your winter costs. Here is ten easy tips from Express Plumbing and Heating, a Red Deer AB furnace company, and Tuitools, a BC furnace reviews website to keep your house cozy while reducing your winter expenses.

Curtains

Closing your curtains when it turns dark outside can make a significant difference. By closing your curtains, you are adding an extra layer of insulation. At a low cost, you can purchase energy-efficient thermal curtains. Grab a few area rugs while you’re at it; this is an excellent way to warm a room. If you want to take it up a notch, you can purchase a roll of bubble wrap to put over your windows. For people who don’t want to spoil their view, 3M has a window insulation kit for under $20.

Timers

You could save money and oil if you turn your boiler on 30 minutes before you need it, at a lower temperature rather than right when you need it at a higher temperature. Your boiler heats up at the same speed regardless of what temperature you set it at. Try to be smart about your schedule and use your timers.

Move Your Furniture

If you have your couch, end table, or curtains directly in front of your radiator, you should move it. Furniture can absorb your heat. By keeping the area around the radiator clear, you allow your heat to circulate throughout the entire area.

Insulation Is Your Friend

You can easily save heat by installing loft insulation. Another idea, although more expensive, is to consider insulating your walls, because a lot of heat escapes through your walls. You can even insulate your outlets with foam insulator pads. Ask your energy supplier how much you could save a year by installing insulation.

water tank insulation

Wrap Your Tank

Keeping your water tank warm with insulation will keep the water warmer longer. You can find a water tank jacket for less than $20 at your local hardware store. You could save up to $185 a year by doing this.

Turn it Down

It is recommended that you keep your dial at 61°F. Keeping your home at this low but comfortable temperature is said to cut your heating bill by 10%.

door draft guard

DIY vs. Drafts

Winter is the perfect season for a DIY project. You can keep warmth in your home by just putting pipe insulation on the bottom of your doors creating door draft guards. If you’re feeling creative, you can paint the pipes to match your door or floor. Also, you can apply self-adhesive rubber seals to your windows and doors at very little cost.

Thermostatic Radiator Valves

Homes with heating controls and thermostatic radiator valves are said to save you 40% more than a home without controls. This allows you only to use heat when you need to. It’s worth getting one of the new models that can be controlled by your mobile device. You can make your heat work around your schedule. There is no point in having the heat pumping all day if you won’t be home. You can set the valves to turn on the heat 30 minutes before you arrive. That’s plenty of time for your home to reach a comfortable temperature.

Upgrade

Yes, boilers are expensive, but if your boiler is ten years or older, you need a new one. It will save you more money in the long run. Not only will you be calling your boiler repairman a lot less, but the latest boiler models use less energy without skimping on your heat.

Reflect

You want a warm room, not a hot wall. Invest a small amount in some radiator panels. Not only are they cheap, but they are easy to install. They stop the heat from going through your walls and instead reflect the heat into your room.

Fall Furnace Maintenance Tips

furnace maintenance

Before it gets cold outside and you are going to be relying on your furnace all the time to keep it warm in the home, you need to get it prepared. There are a few fall furnace maintenance tips that every homeowner should know. If you follow these tips, you can prevent a costly breakdown and your furnace will be working at its maximum capacity all winter long.

#1 Replace the Air Filters

Before you start using your furnace during the winter season, you should replace the furnace’s air filters which is very simple to do. Locate the filter and pull it out. Next, just slide the new filter into the slot. If you have a flat screen, you should consider an upgrade. There are a few filters that will increase the energy efficiency, helps force the air out, and replacing the filters can improve the air quality in your home.

  • Pleated filter
  • HEPA filter
  • Electrostatic filter

#2 Clean Out Your vents and Ducts

Before turning on your furnace for the first time, you should make sure that the vents and ducts are free of dirt and debris by cleaning them. To do this, take off the vent covers with a screwdriver. The best way to clean out the ducts is to vacuum them with the extension hose of your vacuum cleaner.

#3 Inspect the Blower Belt for Cracks

If your blower belt is cracked, it can make the furnace work harder to blow the air out which can result in a higher energy bill during the winter. To inspect the blower belts, you should:

  1. At the main circuit breaker in the home, turn off the power to the furnace.
  2. Remove the cover of the air handler with a screwdriver.
  3. When you look inside, you may see more than one belt. The blower belt will be the biggest one.
  4. If the belt is cracked, either replace it yourself or contact a professional.

#4 Adjust Your Thermostat

To save on your heating costs, you should turn down your heat at night and during the day when there is nobody home. It is best if you have a programmable thermostat to do this for you. If you don’t, you should consider an upgrade. According to the Consumer Energy Center, when you have a programmable thermostat to turn the heat down automatically when nobody is home and during the night, you can save 20 to 75 percent on your heating bill.

#5 Inspect the Outdoor Exhaust Flue

Before you turn on your furnace for the first time, go outside and check the exhaust flue. During the summer, it can become obstructed with branches, leaves, and animal nests which should all be cleaned out before you run your furnace.

#6 Clean the Area Around the Furnace

Clean off any dirt and debris that has collected around the furnace. Also, you should wipe the furnace down with a wet cloth to make sure that it is clean and free of any dust that had built up over the summer.

#7 Vent Maintenance

Before you turn on your furnace, go through the home and make sure that all of the vents are open. Be sure that is no furniture or clutter in the way that will keep the heat from flowing through the vents. If anything is blocking them, the furnace will need to work even harder to heat up the house which can cause your heating bill to go up.

#8 Have Your Furnace Inspected

To be sure that your furnace is running at maximum capacity, it is a good idea to have it inspected regularly. If there are any problems in the furnace, they can be repaired before it gets cold outside which can prevent a costly and inconvenient breakdown in the middle of winter.

Furnace maintenance is critical, not only for the cost of your energy bills but the life of your furnace as well. You should make it a yearly routine to maintain your furnace before you Use it for the first time.

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