Dialing in Your Winter Heating

Posted by Woodrow Aames ~ December 7, 2010

You can have the latest model of a European sports car in your garage, but it will run poorly if it hasn't been tuned to manufacturer's specifications or you don't know how to operate the switches. So, too, with owning top-notch heating and air conditioning systems in your home if they're not calibrated correctly -- or if you don't know how to use them properly.

Energy efficiency is directly proportional to how well you've done your winterizing. If you need tips winterizing your house, read up on it before it gets too cold outside. There's no magic formula for staying warm this winter.

Using Your Head--and Your Heating Equipment

Yahoo reported this week on the myriad ways homeowners waste energy. Here are a few examples of tossing money into the cold winter air without getting a return:

Heating by the Bulb

You wonder what these people are drinking. Incandescent bulbs will not heat your home efficiently no matter how many you install and turn on. Use your home heating system wisely and dump those old fashioned bulbs in favor of compact fluorescents. That's saving energy.

Buying a New Furnace

You may need one. But have you called in a couple of contractors for assessments and estimates? You may be able to attain optimal energy efficiency by routine maintenance, replacing filters, and cleaning your ducts. Are your doors and windows snug tight with insulation and weatherizing strips?

Heating by Your Toaster

That's pretty much what it's like to try and heat an average sized room with a plug-in floor heater. Those concave heater dishes are great for temporarily warming up a bathroom or your icy feet. But they're extremely inefficient. It's like trying to heat up a gymnasium with a cigarette lighter.

Power Blasting the Furnace

You've done it. Admit it! Coming in from the cold into an unheated house, you stamp the snow off your boots, then shove the thermostat setting up to 90 degrees, thinking it will supercharge warm air into your home. Well, it will supercharge your utility bill, that's for sure. It's just like the experience of heating an oven for baking: the oven will reach the desired cooking temperature in the same amount of time no matter how high you crank the dial. Push it higher and you run the risk of overheating your house, and paying for it.

The most important energy efficiency solution may be in employing your common sense.

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