Optimize Your Heating Efficiency This Winter
The last thing anyone wants is for the heat to go out at home or work during the coldest part of winter. The next least-favorite thing is probably the moment that energy bills far exceed expectations, draining pocketbooks and bank accounts with alarming speeds as soon as the temperatures begin to dip.
The good news is that there are a few ways to ensure you’re getting the most out of your residential or commercial heating system, boosting its efficiency while keeping your home or office toasty and warm. This guide offers a few things to check before the cold hits, tips to improve warmth, and an explanation of why routine maintenance may mean the difference between cozy and freezing this winter.
Check for (and Fix!) Drafts: Insulation Tips and More
Hot air rises, which means drafts, holes, and poor insulation are energy, heat, and money suckers. Cold air seeping in through poorly sealed windows, holes in floors or baseboards, open flues and fireplace ducts, or open windows make your heating system’s efforts ineffective, draining your funds without making much headway on the effort to keep you and your family or coworkers comfortable.
The key to efficient heating is ensuring your home can actually stay warm, and that involves more than your heating system.
Proper insulation goes a long way toward keeping heat inside your home or office — as well as cooled air in during the summer — so be sure your building or residence is well-insulated. Have a professional come out to walk the space and ensure your insulation is on par with your building’s needs, thereby making sure you aren’t losing “bought air” to something as simple as a lack of buffer.
In addition, replace older windows with newer, energy efficient ones. You’ll also want to ensure that no warm air is escaping through holes or cracks. Check caulking around windows and doors to ensure a tight seal, and close and lock your windows to make them extra cold air-proof.
Once your home or office is tightened up and insulated, be sure that none of its heating vents are covered. Unobstructed vents allow more heat to enter the room, guaranteeing you’re getting the most from your furnace’s hard work. Also make sure your cold air returns aren’t covered, as your home needs to circulate cold air to continue making more warmth. Blocking a cold air return can damage your system, so be sure all vents are open and able to function efficiently.
Wear Warmer Clothing
This may seem like a no-brainer, but when it’s cold out, wear warmer clothes. You should use your furnace and count on man made machinery to heat your home, of course, because keeping it off could mean you risk health issues, frozen water pipes, and more.
Keep costs down by turning your thermostat to a lower temperature, though — say, around 70 degrees — keeping the air slightly cooler than might be comfortable with just shorts and a t-shirt. This is healthy for humans and buildings alike and reduces the number of times your system needs to come on throughout the day. Turn your home system lower when you’re going away for a few days, or your office system down over the weekend, and reduce temperatures when you’re hosting a large number of people in a small space.
When at home or the office, adjust your wardrobe to fit the seasons. Wear sweaters, long pants, and thicker socks, and keep a work-appropriate sweater at your desk. Avoid going barefoot at home, which often leads to cold extremities, and be sure to keep a few blankets nearby to help ward off chills.
Don’t be afraid to use the heat if you need to, though. There are times to be frugal and others to ensure comfort. Crank up the heat when temperatures drop, keeping your family or coworkers toasty and warm all winter long.
Schedule Routine HVAC Maintenance
Many home and business owners take heating and cooling systems for granted — until they break down, that is. The way to avoid a breakdown of epic proportions, one that knocks your system completely offline and sends your house or office into tundra-like conditions, is to schedule routine maintenance.
If you’re hoping to get the most from your residential or commercial HVAC unit, the best times to schedule maintenance are during the spring and fall: before the high heat of summer and ahead of the frigid winter conditions. Running the air conditioning constantly during hotter months and the heat non-stop during colder ones puts relatively large stress on HVAC machinery. The longer that stress is applied, the more likely that unit is to break down.
During routine maintenance, your HVAC technician runs through a checklist to ensure everything is running as it should. This maintenance could include, but is not limited to:
- Checking coils and other elements for leaks.
- Cleaning the control box.
- Cleaning or replacing filters.
- Examining fan blades for wear and tear.
- Inspecting base pans for blocked openings.
- Listening for abnormal noises.
- Inspecting wiring, connections, belts, and more.
- Removing debris and obstructions.
- Replacing broken or worn items.
- Sensing for scents not normal to system functions.
- Studying overall function.
- Testing fluid levels.
Checking these elements twice per year will ensure your system is up and running at its best when you need it most. If you hear bizarre noises or smell scents that are not normal during HVAC system function, call your trusted HVAC maintenance partner. A technician will check your system for issues, preventing total breakdowns and fixing any problems that may arise.
Some HVAC firms even offer maintenance packages that include routine and emergency visits within their costs, saving your family or company money should a heating or cooling problem arise.
Get the Most from Your Heating
If you’re ready to ensure your home or business is getting the most from its HVAC unit, give your local heating and cooling professional a call. Have an expert come out and inspect your home and system to ensure optimal, efficient function. You’ll be toasty and warm all winter long, and the decreased energy bills will be wallet-friendly, too.
Call (843) 524-0996 or contact Beaufort Air Conditioning using this contact form to schedule your maintenance or other heating efficiency-related tests today.