12 Tips and Tricks to Keep Your House Warm This Winter

As fall and winter approach, the jackets come out of the closet, pumpkin and peppermint coffee take over social media timelines, and we turn on our home furnaces. Depending on the type of furnace you have, this can mean an increase in the natural gas, electric, or oil bill. However, this does not need to be a sizeable increase. There are steps you can take to keep your house warm in the winter and reduce your utility bill.

In this post, we’ll explain 14 tips and tricks that you can do to keep your home heating as efficient as possible. We hope these tips will help you stay comfortable during the cold months of the year and keep your utility spending to a minimum.

Most of these tips are simple steps you can take right now! Some of them are longer projects that may involve help from professionals and some money. However, don’t discount those ideas as they can cause much improved quality of life in your home and can pay for themselves in the long term.

 

1. Replace Dirty Air Filters

An Air Filter covered in dirt

The first tip is universal advice that can aid furnace owners year-round. Make sure your furnace filter is clean and replace it if it is dirty. Furnace’s need air flow to heat your home. The most common killer of air flow is a dirty air filter.

Different sizes of filters have recommended replacement timelines. As a minimum, check your filter every three months. If you see any visible dirt or build up on the filter, replace it.

 

2. Fall Maintenance

Most manufacturers recommend that you have your HVAC system serviced annually. That's why we service HVAC equipment twice a year. We'll come out your home once in the spring for the cooling equipment, and once in the fall for the heating equipment.

During your fall tune-up, your HVAC service technician will replace your filter, check your duct work and air flow, and inspect all the parts in your furnace. They’ll make sure all the sensors are clean and working and that your igniting elements are working.

If you have not had your furnace serviced in fall, then you could be at risk of equipment failure or overpaying on utilities. Consider contacting your local HVAC professionals to get a quote for a heating system maintenance.

 

3. Change Direction of Ceiling Fan

A ceiling fan in a living room

If you have a ceiling fan, you may have noticed that it has a directional switch. On its default setting, a ceiling fan will move counterclockwise to create a small breeze to help chill a room. When a ceiling fan is reversed and rotates clockwise, it will move hot air pockets trapped near the ceiling and force it to warm the cool air in the lower portion of a room.

 

4. Don’t Block Vents and Registers

Having to rearrange your furniture can be a pain, but it might be necessary if your furniture is blocking your vents and registers. Those little grates on your floor or walls are where the heat from your HVAC system comes out. If you have a couch on top of a register, it will absorb all that heat before it can warm your house.

 

5. Let Sunlight In

Keep your blinds and curtains open when the sun is out. The sun produces natural heat and letting that into your home can reduce the amount of your work your furnace or heat pump has to do.

 

6. Close Curtains at Night

Once the sun goes down, the heat inside your home will want to escape through your windows. Having thick curtains to cover your windows will act as another layer of insulation and trap heat inside.

 

7. Insulate and Seal Windows

a window looking over a lake

Heat loves to travel in and out of windows. If you have cracks around the window frame, that gives heat an easy path out of your home. You may need to fill those cracks with some caulk or have a contractor give them an inspection.

To further insulate your windows, you can find shrink wrap or plastic wrap kits. Follow the package instructions for installing these kits. These kits allow sunlight to enter your home and air but will make it harder for that heat to escape.

 

8. Open Dampers

If you have dampers in your duct work, make sure they are open. You might see that it has summer or winter settings, or open or closed settings. Keeping your damper open will allow the airflow to bring heat to all of your house.

 

9. Seal Your Fireplace Flue

If you have a fireplace, make sure that the flue doesn’t have any cracks where heat could escape. A lot of heat and some dangerous fumes will escape out of a cracked chimney.

If you’re not using your fireplace, close the flue off with a seal or plug. That can prevent a lot of heat from escaping. When it’s wintry out, consider not using your fireplace at all. Often, a fireplace will allow more heat to escape the home than it will generate. That means your furnace will have to work that much harder to keep up.

 

10. Program Your Thermostat

You can actually heat your home more efficiently with smart thermostat programs. Setting your thermostat to run parallel with the ambient temperature can make your HVAC system run more efficiently. Your furnace needs time to warm the air before blowing it into your home. It can heat that air by 7 or 10 degrees quicker than it can heat it by 20 degrees. Setting your thermostat to a cooler temperature at night and in the morning and a warmer temperature at noon can cause more efficient performance.

 

11. Insulate Your Attic and Ducts

This is where we get into the tips that involve larger projects. If your attic or duct work does not have adequate insulation, then you can leak heat, sometimes before it even gets inside your home. If your attic is easily accessible and your duct work comprises metal piping, then you could do your own insulation. We have an earlier post with one of our installers showing you how to install insulation.

If your duct work is the flexible kind, then it should come fully insulated. If that insulation is damaged, it’s best to have an HVAC professional repair it.

 

12. Upgrade Old Equipment

If your furnace is older than its expected lifetime, it may be time to replace it. Furnaces lose efficiency for every year that they are running. They have a lot of moving parts. Natural wear and tear is unavoidable. This reduces how efficient they are at creating heat and increases the possibility of something breaking. Your furnace will also be out of warranty, so if something breaks, you’ll have to pay the full cost of repairs.

Compare your furnace type to this list to see if it’s past its lifetime.

  • Oil - 15 years
  • Gas - 20 years
  • Electric - 30 years

 

Save Energy While Staying Warm

This may seem counterintuitive, but this can help keep your utility bill lower while your HVAC system keeps your house warm. Research shows that, for the average person, it’s hard to notice a difference of a few degrees, but your utility bill will be around 1% less for each degree lower you set your thermostat. So, you may not feel a difference between having your thermostat at 72 or 69 but you could save around 3% or more on your utilities.

Get More Energy Saving Tips to Keep Your House Warm

If you want more tips on how to save energy while keeping your house warm. The Department of Energy has a website full of helpful information.

 

Who Are Advantage Heating and Air Conditioning?

We are your local HVAC Experts out of Salem, Oregon. We hope that this post gave you the information you need to keep your house warm in the winter. If you have other questions about HVAC systems, check out our other blogs. To learn more about who we are and how we can help you, visit our website and follow us on social media - we’re here when you need us!