As the last heat of the summer heat slips away, and autumn arrives, most homeowners start thinking about energy savings. You don’t need to continue running the air conditioner all day to contend with high heat and insufferable humidity, so you expect that your electric bills will drop as well. When temperatures plunge a little too far, though, you’ll want to reach for the thermostat again. Kicking on your furnace to deal with the crisper autumn weather creates the potential for rising energy costs again. So how can you ensure that you stay comfortable without sacrificing your wallet to do it?
Beware of common myths surrounding fall and winter energy usage. Not every trick that sounds like a simple way to save money actually works — and some could cost you in the long run. Let’s break them down and explore how to turn them around for real cost-saving tips.
Don’t Set the Thermostat Higher for “Faster” Heating
When you come into a cold house after work or some time out running errands, it’s normal to want to warm up as quickly as possible. After all, you don’t want to stay in your layers any longer than necessary. So, the right thing to do is to reach for the thermostat and crank the furnace up as high as it will go, right? Wrong.
A higher thermostat setting won’t make your home warmer any faster. Furnaces don’t work that way. Instead, you’ll simply make your equipment work harder for longer. Set the thermostat to your preferred temperature, or rely on programming (or the Internet of Things) to warm your home shortly before returning.
Fireplaces Aren’t a Good Way to Save Money
In Sonoma County and the surrounding areas, it’s not uncommon to find homes with fireplaces and beautiful hearths. When the house gets a little chilly, why not sit by the fireplace and enjoy its heat rather than running the furnace? While there’s nothing wrong with relaxing by the fire, it won’t do much to improve the comfort of your entire home. In fact, your chimney will allow outside air into the home, making other rooms even colder while you warm your toes by the fire. Enjoy fires for what they are, but don’t rely on them as a method for heating your space, and don’t neglect their dangers.
Closing Vents Doesn’t Create Energy Savings
The thinking behind this myth is easy to understand. Why should you pay to heat rooms that you aren’t occupying? Closing the vents when you aren’t in the room will just make more hot air blow into other spaces, right? The truth is that this myth isn’t grounded in fact. You aren’t gaining any improvements in efficiency by closing vents, and you may actually disrupt the air pressure balance in your vents. The resulting imbalance could make your equipment work harder to move the air, increasing wear and tear on parts that could eventually need an HVAC technician to replace.
Myth: You Don’t Need to Do Anything Before the Season Starts
When the autumn arrives, you might think all you need to do to achieve energy savings is to be smart about your usage of the furnace. In reality, you shouldn’t switch it on the first time in a year and expect everything to be as effective as it was on the last day of the previous winter. To maintain the most efficient heater possible, you should have an annual furnace inspection before the first cold weather arrives. Not only will a technician ensure everything is in good working order, but they can spot any troublesome issues before they leave you shivering unexpectedly.
You Should Still Use Fans During the Cooler Months
We could restate this myth as “ceiling fans are a waste of energy in the winter.” That’s not true either. Most fans have a simple switch that allows you to reverse the direction of the blades and, thus, the flow of the air. Flipping this switch and using fans in the winter keeps warm air moving throughout the space instead of collecting at the top of the room. Remember, warm air rises. With a fan, you can keep the temperature of any room more even.
Ensure Your Furnace is Ready for the Autumn and Winter Today
Although there are many commonly believed myths about heating in the fall, it’s not hard to see that most of them have no basis in reality. By staying up to date on furnace maintenance and taking care to follow some simple best practices, it is easier to keep your energy costs down and your family comfortable. Generating energy savings is simple when you know a reliable HVAC company in the area to turn to for annual tune-ups and maintenance. Don’t miss the chance to prepare your furnace for the season today.