Control home heating during winter to cut energy costs

Where did the time go? Children have returned to their classrooms and books.

Where did the time go?

Children have returned to their classrooms and books. The leaves are changing colours and falling to the ground. We all know what is coming next: the snow and the cooler temperatures are on their way.

Now we have all heard the advice from our mothers that if you are cold, put a sweater on.

While this is very useful advice and will help keep you warm, there are other things you can do as well to keep toasty warm this winter.

Nobody has money to burn so let’s not waste any on high heating bills.

Remember the programmable thermostats that I covered in the column on how to keep your cool during the summer.

These pull double duty and work equally well to control your heating system. They regulate the temperature of your home during the fall and winter. Do not go to extremes here, changing the temperature by five to 10 degrees.

This will not save you a lot of money it will end up costing you money. Your furnace will have to work twice as hard and run for longer periods of time to bring the temperature back up if you lower too far.

Varying the temp by a couple of degree, especially at night will not make you uncomfortable. It helps to low your bills and does not over work the furnace.

Now while you are thinking about your furnace, check the filters.

They get filled up with all sorts of debris.

Dust, pollen and animal hair all get collected in it and a clogged up filter does not let air flow through properly. Try and pull these out at least once a month to see how much stuff is building up in them.

Depending on the age of your home and the years on your furnace, you may want to look into getting the furnace duct work cleaned out.

Just like your dryer vent builds up with lint your duct work also builds up layers of dust and other bits over time. This limits the amount of air that flows through them, causing the furnace to labour more to deliver the heat you want.

Try adjusting the dampers (the plates inside the ducts) to control how much airflow each room receives. Leave all the dampers slightly open even in the rooms you do not use. A lot of the newer systems cannot handle the extra pressure if you close them off like people did with older systems. Use your ceiling fans.

Put the fan on the lowest setting. If your fan blows downwards the slow speed should make so the air does not feel cool as it goes by like you like in the summer when you have the fan on high.

It will spin enough to push down the warm air that collects near the ceiling. Now if you have a fan that can change its direction, blow the air upwards. This pushes the air off the ceiling where it does no good and bounces it back towards the floor along the walls.

Sandra Nolan is a freelance writer from Rocky Mountain House. Her column will appear every other week in LIFE. Contact her at slnolan@xplornet.com

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