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.

Saving Energy With Your Air Conditioner

hvac maintenance
Graphic courtesy of Publications International, Ltd.

Most people have a high electric bill during the hot, summer months because they are always running their air conditioners. If you are frustrated by your high energy bills, there are a few ways that you can save energy when your air conditioners are running.

Have Your Unit Maintained Regularly

It is a good idea to have your air conditioning unit maintained each year at the start of the summer season. If you have trees that drop sap, leaves, or seeds on the unit, it can cause it to work harder than it needs to. Once all of this debris is cleaned out, it will run more efficiently. Also, you should have a professional check your ducts. You should also have your ducts and vents inspected to be sure that there is no dust or debris clogging them which will also cause the air conditioning unit to work harder than it should.

Turn the AC Down at Night

When you are sleeping at night, you don’t need it to be quite as cold as you do when you are awake. Also, it is cooler at night. When you turn the air conditioner down before you go to bed, you can save lots of money on your energy bill. Some units have a “sleep mode”, which will lower the system automatically on a timer.

Keep the Light Out

When your air conditioning unit is running during the day, you should keep the light off. Even a lamp can create heat, making the air conditioner work harder. Also, prevent the sunlight from coming in the home using blinds, shades, or drapes. Letting the sunlight come into the house can heat it up substantially, making the air conditioning unit work harder.

Turn Down the Air Conditioner When You are Not Home

turning down the thermostat“If you are planning to be out for the day, you should turn your AC up to 80 degrees.” comments Gregory Douglas of Paradise Air, a Las Vegas company specializing in AC Repair. “Since nobody is there, you don’t need to keep the air conditioner turned up. Before you leave, you should close the blinds, shades, or drapes.”

Turn on a Fan

When you have your air conditioner running, you should also run a fan. A fan will circulate the air around the room, so the system won’t need to pump out as much air.

Move the Furniture

If you have any furniture that is obstructing the air conditioning vents, you could end up cooling off the back of a chair rather than letting the air pump through the house. When the air conditioning unit is running, make sure that nothing is obstructing the vents.

The less work your air conditioner needs to do will result in a lower energy bill. If you follow the above tips, you should notice that the cost of cooling your house has gone down.

Save

Maintaining Your Air Conditioner

replacing air conditioner filter

Air conditioning has become a regular part of everyday life in most parts of the modern world. Most homes today are constructed to accommodate air conditioning conveniently, but many homeowners forget that much like other parts of their homes, the air conditioning system needs regular maintenance as well. Without HVAC upkeep, you’re bound to costly AC repairs and unnecessary problems that can be the hassle especially during harsh weather conditions in the summertime and the wintertime. There are many benefits to maintaining your air conditioner, and it should be done as often as possible. Here are some of the main advantages of keeping your air conditioning system in good working order.

Efficiency

There is nothing like a well-oiled machine, and it goes the same for air conditioning systems. An efficient air conditioner will achieve its goal temperatures in no time and will not have to struggle so much to get there either. Maintaining your air conditioner will ensure that it is running properly.

Lower bills

When your air conditioner is running as efficiently as it should, it will show a significant difference in your energy bills. A well-maintained air conditioner will not have to run on extra time just to keep a room at a particular temperature. This equals to less total energy used and less money coming out of your pockets monthly.

Better air quality

The feel of your home goes way beyond how cool or warm you prefer it to be. It’s also important for your home to have proper circulation. Air conditioning systems need to be serviced regularly to have a more comfortable home in general. Servicing can include tasks even as simple as changing your air filters to something more elaborate such as cleaning your air ducts.

Longer lifespan

Air conditioning systems have a shelf life much like all machines. After all, they are typically made of materials that can deteriorate over time which can be slowed down tremendously by keeping air conditioners in good shape. Typical units may last anywhere from 5 to 10 years, but a well-maintained air conditioner will last much longer.

Conclusion

It’s important to keep air conditioners in good shape to have the best room air quality and temperature throughout all the seasons of the year. Air conditioners should be part of regular home cleaning and should get a more thorough maintenance at least once a year which results in a more efficient and longer lasting air conditioner and an overall better home for you.

Air Conditioning Tips

room-air-conditioner_17521_600x450 (1)

When you are installing a new programmable thermostat, make sure find a good location where it can accurately measure the temperature inside your home. Your professional HVAC contractor may help you a lot to with properly placement of your thermostat, because your thermostat only knows what the temperature is in the area surrounding it. That’s why placement is so integral to functionality.

For example, installing your thermostat near an exterior door can dramatically affect how it works, as the opening and closing of the door will change the ambient temperature in the immediate area, regardless of temperature in the rest of the house. It will not read your indoor air temperature accurately and you may experience uneven heating and cooling.

For the same reason, it’s not recommended to place a thermostat near windows. This is only one of the reasons why, when it comes to HVAC installation and maintenance, you will need the guidance of a professional who’s able to draw upon years of experience and training.

The thermostat should also be located where it is not affected by heated or cooled air blowing from the registers. It should be mounted about 5 feet from the floor to get a good average reading from floor to ceiling. Warm air rises so temperatures in your home will naturally be warmer toward the ceiling and cooler at the floor. An incandescent light bulb can raise the nearby air temperature several degrees and affect your thermostat’s temperature reading. The same is true for the sun.

Finally, mount thermostats well away from exterior doors and windows and away from kitchens to avoid inaccurate readings.

It’s better, before you paint a picture of how your home will look upon completion, down to the placement of thermostats and light switches, you should contact an HVAC contractor in your area.

Why AC Coils Freezing-Up?

You may notice your cooling system doesn’t feel like it’s working adequately, and when you go to check, find that your air conditioner unitis covered in ice.

Below are several common problems that can cause your air
conditioner to freeze up:

  • A dirty filter
  • Anything that restricts the air flow over the coil surfaces can disrupt the balance of your system and cause icing.
  • Low refrigerant
  • Refrigerant leaks or low levels of refrigerant can make the cold coil too cold and allow moisture in the air to freeze and accumulate.
  • A dirty coil
  • When you first turn it on, are turn just the blower on you get good airflow.
  • Temperature
  • Faulty thermostat or thermostats that are set too low can cause an air conditioner to run constantly, which can eventually drop the temperature of the condenser below freezing.

What can you do if your air conditioner freezes up?

  • First, turn off your air conditioning system completely off and let it defrost.
  • Next, clean or replace any dirty filters and remove any visible dirt or obstructions.
  • Open all registers completely and make sure furniture or draperies are not blocking them.
  • The next thing, call an Air Conditioning Professional.

Your system will need to be inspected to ensure there are no refrigerant leaks or damage to your equipment.

Regular maintenance on your air conditioning system helps you avoid many of these problems.

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