9 Ways to Keep Your Home Toasty in Winter
AtlasCare’s Dick Thomas, Vice President of Operations, was recently interviewed for by Walmart Canada’s Live Better Magazine, about saving heating costs during the cold months of winter. We are honoured that Walmart thought so highly of our expertise in the Heating and Cooling industry and we are pleased to share this article with you in case you didn’t get a chance to read it in the November issue of Live Better magazine.
Feeling The Heat – 9 ways to keep your home toasty in winter.
With freezing temperatures on the way, your home heating costs will likely start to increase. How do you keep that heating bill from burning a hole in your budget? Here are nine things you can do that may lead to big savings.
By Martha Li
- Install a high efficiency furnace: “It’s the number one way to reduce your heating costs”, says Dick Thomas, Vice President of operations at AtlasCare, an Oakville, Ontario based contractor specializing in installation and service of residential heating and air-conditioning equipment. If you have an old furnace, look into replacing it with a high efficiency one – Thomas says, “it can equal savings of 30 percent or higher off your current heating bill.”
- Clean or replace furnace filters: “A furnace with a dirty filter is not allowing the maximum airflow to go through the house, and therefore the furnace is not operating at its most efficient level,” says Thomas. How often to replace your furnace filter depends on the type that’s used. “If it’s a one inch disposable filter, it should be replaced approximately every two months,” says Thomas. “A furnace using a pleated filter should be replaced once or twice a year.”
- Install a programmable thermostat – and use it: Nowadays there are Wi – Fi thermostats that allow a homeowner to adjust the temperature from virtually anywhere by using their smartphone, tablet or laptop. Just make sure it’s programmed to automatically lower and raise the temperature based on peak consumption times and periods of the day when the home is vacant. A properly programmed thermostat can reduce heating costs by up to 10 percent.
- Ensure your attic and basement are properly insulated: Together, these areas represent as much as 15 to 30 percent of your home’s overall heating and cooling losses. “Adding insulation in these areas can curb your homes overall heating loss,” says Jennifer Smith, vice president of corporate relations at Burlington Hydro In Ontario.
- Check your home’s humidity: “If a house has the proper humidity, it’ll feel warmer than if it’s dry,” Thomas says. “Look into getting a whole house humidifier, not just ones that service single rooms.”
- Close heat registers in unused rooms: Close the door, too, adds Smith, since shutting doors means you’ll only heat the rooms used most often.
- Let the sun in: “Open curtains during the day to let the natural heat from the sun come in,” says Smith. “At night, close the curtains to minimize heat loss.”
- Eliminate drafts: Seal or caulk drafts around windows, doors, and air vents, and install insulated plates on electrical outlets – doing so can shave off up to 25 percent of total annual heating costs.
- Turn down the heat: For every degree lower, you’ll save up to two percent on heating costs, according to Epcor Utilities Inc. in Edmonton. The most commonly recommended settings are 20 °C (68°F) during the day, 18°C (64°F) for sleeping and 16°C (61°F) when you are away from home.