What to Do—and What Not to Do—As You Heat Your Home This Winter

Posted: October 21, 2016

Home heating

Posted: October 21, 2016

Everyone wants to save money on heat, but sometimes, people go to extremes and put their safety in jeopardy. Please follow these tips from the Wilson Oil and Propane Service Department so you can avoid household hazards like frozen pipes and electrical and heating fires.

Use space heaters and wood stoves sparingly and with caution

Some people shut off their furnaces and use electric space heaters in the most commonly used rooms. Doing this vastly increases the chance of frozen pipes. Overusing electric space heaters can also make your utility bill soar. (Electricity is expensive!) If you do use a space heater, always turn it off when you leave the room or go to sleep. Always keep pets and children away from space heaters.

Some people also use pellet or wood stoves as a substitute heat source. Stoves need constant maintenance to work safely. Improperly installed stoves increase the risk of a fire.

Don’t close your heating vents

Another common mistake is closing the heating vents in seldom-used rooms. The belief is that this will conserve heat and save money but we do not recommend this!

Closing some vents disrupts normal air flow, causing an imbalance that will just make your furnace work harder. Closing vents can also raise the risk of frozen pipes, especially in rooms that tend to be on the cold side anyway.

It’s always better to keep the temperature at a comfortable level throughout your home and program it to energy-saving settings when the house is empty or everyone is asleep.

If you have a zoned system, you already have the power to vary the temperature in different rooms, eliminating the temptation of shutting the heat off completely in parts of your home.

Never set your thermostat below 60 degrees

When your thermostat setting is too low, you also risk frozen pipes. Water pipes near outside walls or in unheated spaces are especially prone to freeze-ups. The risk increases if cracks in your foundation allow cold air to enter.

Let your heating system breathe

Never try to hide the furnace, boiler and water heater by boxing them in. (This is a common mistake people make when they’re remodeling their basements.) With an improperly vented heating system, airflow is restricted, creating negative pressure. If not corrected, the pressure could lead to combustion gases “back drafting” into the home.

Combustion gases usually exit the home through a naturally drafting chimney/vent. Pressures inside the home can interfere with this process and draw the gases into your home.

If you plan to do any remodeling that may affect your heating system or water heater, please feel free to contact us with any questions. Your safety is important to us!