It isn't news to anyone in Olathe or the greater Kansas City area that temperatures have been more than chilly lately. You don't have to go very far to hear or see someone talking about the polar vortex and the particularly cold weather that's been hitting the region. It's on TV news, the radio, Facebook, and when you have to go out, it's on everyone's minds.
This especially frigid weather has many of us breaking out the warmest, fluffiest blankets that we own and dialing up the thermostat in an effort to stay comfortable in our own homes. Unfortunately, this also means significant increases in our heating bills at the end of the month. With cold weather hitting much of the country, there has been lots of talk about how to stay warm while keeping your heating bills to a minimum. You can find tips nearly everywhere, from the Today Show to ABC News, Energy.gov, the Spruce, and many more.
As your Olathe heating and cooling professionals, we've talked about how to stay warm in the winter while reducing your heating bills before, but we also know that staying warm is important when the temperatures drop so low, so we've found a few more ideas that you may not have tried yet!
Reach for the Sock Drawer
Socks aren't just a layer between your feet and your shoes. You lose a lot of heat through your extremities, and if your feet are cold, then the rest of you is going to be, too. Dig out those socks and wear them around the house during the winter. You can even change into fresh socks when you get home to warm your feet up or take this opportunity to buy yourself (and the whole family) some goofy but cozy warm slippers.
Don't stop at socks, either. Bundle up while you're indoors! Wear your favorite cozy sweater around the house, put flannel sheets on the bed, invest in insulated curtains, and snuggle up under warm blankets while you're watching TV!
Don't let the Fireplace Suck Up All the Heat
Fireplaces are supposed to be warm and cozy, right? They conjure up images of snuggling in front of the fire on a snowy night. The problem is, they can also be a big culprit in heat loss around your house. How? Heat rises, and if you keep the damper on your fireplace open when the fire isn't burning, heat will go right up the chimney and out of your house. You may as well leave the front door wide open. It's also a good idea to inspect the flue—or have it inspected by a professional—to make sure that the damper is sealing properly.
While you're at it, keep your drapes closed, especially at night. As much as 25% of your home's heat loss can come from windows, and keeping the drapes closed can help keep your windows more insulated and cut that number down.
Force That Warm Air Down from the Ceiling
By now, you should have switched the direction of your ceiling fans when cold weather started to set in, but do you know why? During the winter, you want your ceiling fan to turn clockwise (and you want to run it on a low setting) so that it can push warm air that rises back down toward the floor, keeping your room feeling warmer.
Set and Forget Your Thermostat
As tempting as it can be, you don't want to fiddle with your thermostat throughout the day. Constantly turning it up or down causes your furnace to kick on more often, which drives up your heating bill. Unless you have a smart thermostat (more on that below), you should set your thermostat somewhere low but comfortable and then leave it alone. If you get chilly, break out the warm socks or snuggle under some blankets. Plus, if you crank the thermostat up, you're more likely to forget and leave it turned up when you leave the house, which wastes precious energy on heating an empty home.
Get Smart: Go High Tech
Better yet, invest in a smart thermostat that can help keep your house cozy warm while reducing your energy bills without you having to think about it at all. In fact, studies have suggested that a smart thermostat can save you as much as 20% on your utility bills throughout the year. Check with your Olathe heating and cooling professional to learn more about programmable thermostats. Here at Davenport Service Company, we're proud installers of NEST thermostats.
Only Heat the Rooms in the House You're Using
Not every room in the house is created equal. While we probably all spend a lot of time in the bedroom, kitchen, or living room, most of us have spare rooms, guest rooms, or other rooms in the house that rarely get any use on a normal day. It may be a good idea to direct the airflow away from those rooms and into the ones that you use the most. That said, shutting ducts or vents can sometimes cause a strain on your furnace and blower, so check with a heating and cooling professional before you start closing vents around the house.
Cold Weather Furnace Tune-ups
Maybe the most important thing that you can do to help keep your house warm and cozy during cold weather while also keeping your utility bills to a minimum is to have a heating and cooling professional perform a furnace tune-up. Sure, you can change the furnace filters yourself—and you should make sure they're changed regularly—but there are other things that should be left in the hands of the pros, such as identifying and correcting problems that are hampering the performance of your furnace.
Regular tune-ups from a heating and cooling professional are quick, easy, and affordable, and you'll be amazed at how comfy your home can be when your furnace (and humidifier) is working at peak efficiency. Especially if your furnace is around 15 years old, it's time to call Davenport Service Company in Olathe today at 913-441-2222!