Don’t Make These Heating Mistakes

Polar vortex sign

Posted: February 5, 2019

Everyone wants to save money on heat, especially when temperatures dive into the single digits and the wind chill factor makes us want to stay under the blankets until spring arrives. Polar vortex, anyone?

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to save money on heating your home, but please do it in a smart way and never takes chances with your safety.

With that in mind, here are a few tips to keep in mind. These can help you reduce your risk of frozen pipes, as well as electrical and heating fires.

Use space heaters and wood stoves sparingly and with caution. In an effort to save money, some people have shut off their furnaces (or turned their thermostat way down) and use electric space heaters in their most commonly used rooms. But doing this vastly increases the chance of frozen pipes. Overusing electric space heaters can also make your utility bill soar. (Electricity is expensive!)

There is nothing wrong with using a space heater for some extra warmth. But if you do use a portable heater, always turn it off when you leave the room or go to sleep. Always keep pets and children away from space heaters. Be sure you can keep your space heater away from anything flammable!

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 can 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. Setting your thermostat setting too low is another way to raise your 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. We recommend setting your thermostat a little higher when temperatures get very low.

Please contact us if you would like further advice on smart ways to save money on heating your home.