Keep Your House Warm in Winter with These Tips for Louisville Homeowners
Louisville households keep the home warm over the winter season with a heating system. Furnaces, boilers, and heat pumps are common HVAC choices for central heating – depending on the system, natural gas or electricity is used to produce heated air for forced air heat, transfer heat energy to create warm air indoors, or radiate heat into a living space from steam or hot water. While central HVAC equipment is most commonly used to help Kentucky families stay warm throughout heating season, these units aren’t the only option you have to keep your house warm in winter.
The energy bills and heating bills associated with use of a central heating system can be quite pricey, as utility costs continue to rise. In order to save money and reduce heating costs, many homeowners search for other ways to maintain the home’s temperature at a comfortable level with less expense. If your heating bill is too high, you too can take advantage of natural warmth and home improvements that keep the house warm in spite of cold weather and cold air outdoors.
Jarboe’s Plumbing, Heating & Cooling wants to help you meet your goals for saving money and keeping your house warm in winter for less this year! Learn ways to take advantage of free heat, find out how to keep more heat inside your home and block cool air from coming in, and discover useful tools that will help eliminate a cold room so you can keep your body and feet warm all winter long.
Reduce Heat Loss by Preventing the Escape of Warm Air and Ending Cold Air Intrusion
Heat loss is a major cause of discomfort as well as high heating bills. Heat loss happens when your home allows heated air to escape the indoor living areas through openings and gaps in the home’s building envelope. These building envelope deficiencies also allow cold air from outdoors to make its way inside the house, which makes a big difference in how warm your warm air really feels.
When heat loss is prevalent in a home, heating systems are forced to do more work. They must run longer and consume more energy to replace the heated air that was lost to the outdoors and increase the temperature to keep your house warm despite the cool air that has come in from the great outdoors. Your home wastes energy as less heat produced by your heater actually benefits your family. Ultimately, heat loss increases heating bills so you pay more even while struggling to keep home warm in winter.
Limit heat loss and save energy with these tips:
- Louisville and the surrounding areas are situated in Climate Zone 4 of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). For this zone, the IECC recommends that attic insulation have a minimum R-value of 38 in homes that already have some insulation in place. If your loft insulation isn’t around 10 to 14 inches deep, you should add more attic insulation throughout your home. Increasing loft insulation helps the house retain heat and limit heat loss, so you save energy and keep your house warm in winter.
- Air leaks are another significant source of heat loss and cold air infiltration in Kentucky homes. These leaks allow hot air from indoor living areas to spill into areas that are typically unheated or out of the structure entirely. Cold air from the outdoors can also enter the home through these routes. Seal air leaks to close off these points around the house so heat loss is limited, by using insulating materials, caulk, weather stripping, and other appropriate materials. Points around the home that commonly allow warm air to exit include attic access doors, recessed light fixtures, window frames, window sills, exterior doors, duct connections to the floor or ceiling, and joists below the wood floors.
Reclaim and Reuse Hot Air to Keep Home Warm in Winter
The home’s primary heater should deliver enough heat so that the whole house is staying warm on cold days and cold nights. Ventilation and even natural properties can result in less heat within your living areas, making you and your family members feel cold. With the right equipment, you can reclaim and reuse the hot air created by your heater – your family will stay warm while requiring less warm air from your HVAC unit.
- Ventilation systems move stale air out of the home and bring in fresh outdoor air. On cold days, heat can be lost through this process without the right solutions. A heat recovery ventilator can be installed, allowing your ventilation system to reclaim the home’s heat and reuse it. Before indoor air exhausts out of the home, it passes through the heat recovery ventilation – this equipment extracts as much as 90 percent of the heat held within that outgoing warm air and saves it for reuse. Before cold air brought in from the outdoors is allowed to move into the indoor living areas, the heat recovery ventilator takes that captured heat and adds it to this air supply, generating fresh warm air that helps to keep the house warm this winter.
- Ceiling fans are incredibly handy for staying warm in the winter if you know how to use them correctly. Indoor hot air will naturally free flow up to the ceiling level, where its circulation slows. Up high, this heat doesn’t benefit anyone in the home. Using a ceiling fan set to spin in a clockwise motion, you can send this warm air back down to the areas where people stay. When ceiling fans push this heat back down to lower living spaces, people stay warm reusing the heat initially generated by the main heater. With a ceiling fan, you can keep your house warm without demanding your heater consume more energy to produce more heat.
Free Heat to Keep Your House Warm
If you aren’t taking advantage of solar energy to keep your home warm when it’s cold outside, you’re missing a significant opportunity for saving money and lowering your monthly heating bill. Direct sunlight exposure will keep your house warm, increasing the temperature several degrees without using the heater. Below, learn how to harness that energy flooding in through each window frame.
- After the Sun comes up each day, open window coverings in rooms that will receive partial or direct sunlight exposure throughout the day. In the winter, south facing windows don’t see much direct sunlight, so focus on windows with a north, east, or west exposure. As solar energy radiates into the room, the temperature will increase so you stay warm.
- Close window coverings after the Sun goes down to retain that free solar heat and avoid losses through drafts and contact with cold glass windowpanes. For windows without dedicated window coverings, hang blankets to block drafts and insulate the room from cold air around the window.
- Aluminum foil is sometimes installed on windows to reflect heat in the summer and keep rooms cooler. If you have aluminum foil up on your windows, remove this material for the winter season and keep the house warm.
- Decorate rooms with dark colors to help these spaces retain more solar energy and keep your house warm for free. Dark surfaces are more efficient at absorbing energy than light surfaces, and rooms with dark finishes stay warm longer than those with light materials after direct sunlight exposure.
More Tips to Make Your House Warm
Using advice geared toward staying warm without your heater doesn’t always help homeowners save money, as not all tips are accurate or even safe. Here are a few more tips to keep your house warm this winter while spending less, which are vetted by our heating professionals.
- Keep vents and doors open to unused rooms throughout the home. You may have heard hat closing vents and shutting a bathroom door or bedroom door when the room isn’t occupied can help you reduce your heating bill by heating less square foot area of the home. This is totally false and closing vents and doors to these spaces can increase the cost of heating your home. Shutting vents and doors increases pressure throughout the HVAC system, which leads to energy loss and restricted airflow. Your main heater will consume more energy to heat the home with these spaces shut off than if their vents and doors were kept open.
- Use a programmable thermostat to adjust temperatures around your household’s daily schedule. Turning back the heat for long periods when everyone is gone can help you spend less on heating, but no one wants to come home to a chilly house! Instead of cranking up the heat upon your return and ultimately wasting energy, the programmable thermostat will ensure your home warms up just before you’re scheduled to arrive so you always stay comfortable.
- At night, add a hot water bottle or electric blanket for more heat as you sleep. The hot water bottle will radiate heat to warm the space between layers and keep your body warmer with practically no energy use.
- Never leave your oven door open to add heat in a room. Having an oven door open is a great safety and fire risk, especially in homes with young children and pets. Instead, use an energy efficient space heater for spot heating whenever you’d like to add a little warmth to a room.
- Replace the furnace filter regularly throughout the winter. Using a dirty furnace filter limits airflow and causes the heater to waste energy as it runs. Check the filter each month and install a new furnace filter as needed.
Affordable Heating in Louisville
We hope these tips will help keep your home warm for less this winter! Professional HVAC services such as furnace repair and heating system maintenance can also reduce energy consumption by your heating unit and reduce your household heating bills – contact Jarboe’s Plumbing, Heating & Cooling today to set an appointment for service!