At IMS, we believe in our heating systems. At the same time, though, we understand there is only so much a good furnace can do—if you leave the window open in a snowstorm, you are going to wake up cold. With November just around the corner, the time for bundling up is at hand, and we have put together a couple principles to keep your heating bill to a minimum.
Know where you’re losing heat
Big windows left uncovered? Door isn’t square with the ceiling or floor? Chimney flue left open? There are a lot of things that let the heat out of your house. You might be aware of most of them—most Colorado homeowners get the hang of the cold weather halfway through their first December. But did you know that wooden floors can account for up to ten percent of a house’s heat loss? To put it another way, for every ten dollars you spend heating your house, you’re losing one of them through the floorboards. Doors are another big one, as settling houses and shifting door frames leave gaps that let out the lion’s share of warm air out into the cold winter nights (Not to mention the fact that doors are rarely as insulated as the walls around them to begin with.)
The fixes for both of these problems are relatively straightforward. For hardwood floors, limit the exposed floor space with carpets or rugs. For doors, a rug can be just as effective—if there’s a door you don’t usually use, try hanging one over it to limit heat exchange. Likewise, cracks under doors can be filled with good weather stripping or a draft stopper (any tube-shaped bundle of fabric or insulation laid against the opening of the door.) Whatever you do, it doesn’t have to be classy—it just has to keep the heat in.
Understand heat absorption
When keeping a house warm, you’re not trying to dump as much heat into a room as fast as you possibly can. Instead, you’re trying to get the room to absorb the heat efficiently and evenly, to raise the ambient temperature of everything inside of it. This means exposing the rooms you’re trying to heat to the warm air from your furnace or radiators as much as possible.
First, make sure there is nothing blocking the air-flow from the vents or radiators in your home. Though the entertainment system might look great in the corner, the vent it is covering isn’t going to do much good when it comes to warming your room. Next, check your ceiling fans. There are some ceiling fans that can reverse the direction of their spin, pulling the rising hot air back down to floor-level. Though your mileage may vary with this tip, it can be an effective way to keep your ground-floor warm, especially if you’ve got vaulted ceilings. Lastly, limit the space you are trying to heat to something manageable. If you focus your efforts on one room instead of trying to heat them all, you’ll get more bang for your buck. It is easier to heat one room to seventy-five, after all, than to heat the whole house to sixty-eight.
Finally, make sure you’ve got a good furnace. We at IMS know what it’s like to live in a house with a broken or run-down furnace, and we can tell you from first-hand experience, it is no fun at all. So, check out our website before the first snow hits and see what a difference a good furnace makes!