It’s a marshmallow world this time of year, but it’s not the toasty kind. In order to stay warm this winter, you probably got your pre-season tune-up back at the beginning of fall, right? Your heater should be fit as a fiddle. There are a few things that we’re willing to bet you didn’t think of to prepare for the coming cold. Luckily, there is still time to implement these tips and tricks to stay warm and save on your heating bill.
1. Prepare Your Home for Winter
Keeping your home warm can be difficult when the warm air keeps escaping, but you can easily fix this without the need for a professional. It’s as simple as caulking around windows and adding weather strips around doors. This will not only keep the warm air in your house but keep the cold air out. It’s an efficient way to ensure your comfort this winter without raising your heating or electric bills.
2. Close Up the Chimney
If you’re not using your gas or wood-burning fireplace, there’s no reason to keep the damper open. In case you didn’t know, a damper is a movable plate that sits above the fireplace, right before the flue. When it is closed, it helps keep heated air from going up the chimney and prevents cool air from entering. When open, these allow the smoke from a fire to exit the home. This is due to a vacuum effect, which will also suck up the air in your home. If you close it while the fireplace is not in use, you can save on your home heating expenses. Note that for safety following the use of your fireplace, you should be sure to wait until all embers are extinguished and all the smoke has cleared from your home before closing them. Do not use your fireplace with a completely or even partially closed damper.
3. Don’t Play With the Thermostat
Just like setting your thermostat to a super low temperature won’t make your air conditioning cool any faster, neither will raising your thermostat drastically high make your furnace or heat pump heat any faster. It will only damage your unit and raise your heating costs. The key to having your house warm when the cold hits is to start warming beforehand. If you wait until your house is freezing, then you’re going to have to pile on the winter clothes or use space heaters until it warms up. That brings us to the next point.
4. Use Portable Heaters
If you need supplementary heating, use a portable space heater. That way, you don’t have to get your heater running every time you get chilly. Keep in mind that you should turn off these heaters if you aren’t going to be in the room with them. Leaving this equipment unattended is a safety hazard.
5. Change Your Furnace Filter
This is something that you probably had done when you got your tune-up in the fall; but if you haven’t, go ahead and change your furnace filter. Ideally, this should be done before the start of the heating season. This will ensure that ensure proper airflow and quality in your home. A dirty filter can impact these as well as the efficiency of your unit.
6. Design a Shelter for Your Outdoor Unit
If you are expecting snow and ice, you might want to consider building a shelter for your outdoor unit. You do not want to completely cover your unit, as this can seal in moisture and cause corrosion; and you definitely shouldn’t cover a heat pump, as these units run all year round. What you want is to protect the fan without completely close the unit off. If the fan freezes, the unit won’t be able to work properly. It will try to start up continuously until it eventually goes out. A simple lean-to or roof-like structure built from fencing materials will be more than sufficient to protect your outdoor unit from the winter elements.
If you need more information on how to winter-proof your HVAC unit, don’t hesitate to contact A/C Masters. You can reach us by phone or online through our website. If you need your unit serviced, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment. Our trained professionals are ready to help you!