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It’s already been a weird winter so far. Since winter officially began in late December, we’ve seen temperatures fluctuating quite a bit, often from one day to the next. We’ve experienced the unavoidable parts of winter here in Olathe: drops in temperatures, blowing snow, ice, and an unwelcome chill throughout the house. While everyone is hauling out their snow shovels and warm winter clothes, the Olathe heating and cooling pros at Davenport decided to dust off our popular home heating hacks topic and talk about all the latest home heating hacks that will help keep your family warm during this wild winter season.

If you try out these home heating tips and still find that your furnace is struggling to keep up with the cold, it might be time for a furnace repair in Olathe from the folks at Davenport Service Company. Give us a call so that Old Man Winter doesn’t move in where he’s not welcome.

Change your furnace filters. We know we say this all the time, but that’s because this is an easy and inexpensive thing that you can do that will help keep your HVAC system running smoothly all year long. Your furnace filters provide a great service by filtering out dust, pollen, and other allergens to help to keep your air fresh and clean. However, the filters can clog up over time, which causes your furnace or A/C to have to work extra hard. Change your filters every month or two, regardless of the season.

Open your dampers. This is an often-overlooked detail, especially by homeowners who are not servicing their HVAC system on a regular basis. Your ductwork may contain internal dampers that adjust airflow. Your Olathe heating and cooling professional will be able to tell you if you have them and locate them for you. Some damper handles are marked for “summer” or “winter” settings, but if you’re in doubt, set the damper handle parallel to the duct line during the winter.

Make sure your vents aren’t blocked. In order to work as efficiently as possible, your heating system needs access to all of your ductwork, including all of the vents located throughout your house. This means you need to keep your vents free from furniture, rugs, or anything else that might restrict airflow. It also means NOT closing vents in rooms that you seldom use. Your HVAC system is designed to heat your whole house, and closing off vents can actually make your system work harder, leading to higher utility bills and even furnace repairs down the road.

But definitely block out the drafts. Drafts can find their way into your home around doors and windows, and blocking them out can have a huge impact on your heating bill and the comfort of your home. Fortunately, blocking drafts can be as simple as buying some door draft stoppers from the hardware store or Amazon. They range in price from $10 to $25, but you’ll save that and more on your utility bill by the end of the season.

Make a pot of tea and bake some cookies. A warm treat will help warm you up this winter, but there’s more! Heating up the oven will also help to heat up the house. When you’re finished baking, you can leave the oven door open a crack (while the oven is turned off, of course) and let the heat escape into your kitchen for a quick and inexpensive way to take advantage of that excess heat. Just remember to be careful and not leave your oven door open if you have pets or small children in the house.

Open interior doors. In the same way that closing off vents can force your furnace to work harder than it needs to, keeping interior doors open throughout the house increases airflow and helps to keep the entire house at a similar temperature. Sure, you can’t always keep internal doors open at all times, but when you can, opening up doors throughout your house will help warm air to circulate and keep your whole house warmer without making your furnace work as hard.

Use the ceiling fan—seriously! Ceiling fans are designed to do more than cool you off during the hot summer months. They’re intended to help control airflow all year round. This is why ceiling fans have switches that control the direction that they turn. In the summer, they should turn counterclockwise. This helps them to create a downdraft that cools the room. In the winter, however, you should flip the switch to make them turn clockwise, helping to circulate warm air that would otherwise gather near the ceiling.

Install a programmable thermostat. This is another subject we’ve talked about before. Programmable thermostats allow you to set temperatures for specific times of day, adjusting to your sleep and work schedules. What’s more, smart thermostats like the Nest Learning Thermostat can even learn your habits and make adjustments that accommodate your lifestyle, without you even having to think about it. Plus, you can control most smart thermostats right from your tablet or smartphone!

Bonus! Whether you have a smart thermostat or not, we’ve got some recommended thermostat settings to help you get optimal efficiency from your HVAC system during the coldest winter months. During the early morning hours, set your thermostat to 68 degrees. That’ll help keep you warmer when it’s coldest, and it’ll make it easier to get out of bed. During the day, when you’re less likely to be home and the weather is at its warmest, drop the temperature back down to 60 degrees. In the evening, set it back up to 68, and when you go to bed, set it back down to 60, since you’ll be snuggled up under the covers anyway.

Of course, no matter how many home heating hacks you use, you’re still going to rely on your furnace to keep you warm throughout the cold winter months. To ensure that it stays in tip-top shape, you’ll want to get it regularly serviced by Olathe heating and cooling professionals, who can not only keep it operating at peak efficiency, but also perform any necessary furnace repairs that may be required.

To learn more or schedule an appointment, contact Davenport Service Company at 913-441-2222 today!

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