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4 Home Heating Tips for the Holidays

11/6/2014

Valerie Johannsen
Valerie Johannsen People & Brand Manager

Winter heating season is coming a little early this year. Take the time this weekend to accomplish some of these home heating tasks in order to keep your home as cozy and cost-efficient as you can. Do these things before it is snowing and 20 degrees out. You may not have that long.

1. The Fireplace

  • Leave the damper closed unless you have a fire going; otherwise, your precious heat will be able to escape right up the chimney. Your heating use can go up 30% if you have an open damper and aren’t using the fireplace. It’s like having a huge window open all winter.
  • Consider turning down the thermostat when you use the fireplace and closing the doors to the room.
  • If you don’t use your fireplace, make sure you have the chimney flue plugged and sealed. There are inflatable chimney plugs available to buy on Amazon.
  • Check the seal on your damper to make sure it forms a tight seal.
  • Insulate and caulk any cracks or gaps you might find around your fireplace.
  • No gift wrap in the fireplace; it can cause a chemical buildup and resulting explosion.
  • If it needs a cleaning, hire a professional cleaning sweep. This is not a DIY project.

2. The Furnace

  • The best thing you can do for your furnace is to schedule maintenance every year. Some warranties even require it, and a yearly check-up ensures that your system is working properly and at is maximum efficiency, saving you money in the long-run.
  • Replace furnace filters every 1-3 months, depending on your filter. Some filters just need to be cleaned with a garden hose, while others get replaced entirely. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the package and make sure you are inserting the filter incorrectly.
  • You can clean the inside and outside of your furnace with a wire brush to reduce odors and increase efficiency.

3. Insulation

  • This project will cost several hundred dollars to install and take several hours at the very least. This one is not really a small project, but if you really want to save on your energy bills, you will need to insulate your home. If you do make major insulation changes, call your trusted HVAC professional to assess the ventilation balance of your system.
  • Caulking is a much easier and cheaper way to insulate your home for the winter. Tubes typically cost less than $5 and will save you tons on your energy bill.
  • A great place to start is to find the areas outside your home where you might have air conditioning lines, wiring, or plumbing coming into your home. For small cracks and gaps around wiring or piping, use weatherproof caulk to seal the gaps.
  • For any exterior air leaks or gaps greater than a quarter of an inch, use Expanding Foam Spray.
  • To seal leaking ductwork, use aluminum tape (mastic sealing). Click here for a how-to guide for sealing duct-work using mastic and mesh tape.
  • For drafty windows, you can use heat-shrink film, weatherstripping, rope caulk, and heavy drapes for short-term solutions. For more long-term solutions, you may want to invest in new windows, replace the glazing, and add storm panels. These are usually jobs for the pros. Click here for HouseLogic’s “How to Fix Drafty Windows.

4. Programmable Thermostat

  • If you don’t have a programmable thermostat, you should probably invest in one. It’s a comfort thing, so pick a temperature during the day that is as low as possible but still comfortable.
  • At night, set the thermostat back about 10 degrees for huge energy savings.
  • Try wearing sweaters and hats throughout the day to keep warm rather than blasting the heat.
  • Or perhaps you work at home where you sit at one spot for hours at a time. You may want to use a space heater so that it heats up only the immediate area that you are in and not unoccupied parts of your home.

Heating and Cooling Des Moines Since 1997

At Service Legends, we take pride in heating and cooling Des Moines and the surrounding areas. Our HVAC services include furnace and air conditioner installation, repairs, maintenance, and tune-ups. Our lineup of Indoor Air Quality solutions includes whole-home humidifiers, air purifiers, and air filtration systems. We can even help with HVAC financing.

Call 515-657-6634 to contact our Home Comfort Heroes today. We’re standing by 24/7.

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