Even in sunny California, it’s that time of year where those chilly early mornings are tempting you to turn on your thermostat.
But before you do, it’s important to realize that you don’t just have to rely on your HVAC system to do all of the work this season.
In fact, there are plenty of preventative measures you can take that will ensure your home is cozy and you are wasting minimal energy over the winter.
Today, we’ve compiled advice from the experts of HVAC that will walk you through the steps.
Tip # 1: Reverse Your Fans
“Most ceiling fans have a switch somewhere on the motor housing that allows you to change the direction of the turning blades.
If you can’t locate the switch on your own, check your fan’s owner manual. This reverse mode pulls air up toward the ceiling, driving the warm air that has risen naturally back down and around the edges of the room.
Just like in the summer, you will feel more consistent temperatures.”
Turning your fan so that it blows clockwise is a great way to spread warmth through any room.
But as Horizon goes on to say, when you aren’t in the room, turn your fan off. This will help you conserve the most energy.
Tip # 2: Keep Curtains Open On Sunny Days, But Close Them Overnight
Hivac Air says, “When the sun is up during the day, make sure to open your curtains and blinds so the natural light can make its way into your home.
Letting in the sunlight can be a great way to keep your home warm, and it will also let you use your heater less so that you can save money.”
But what about on cloudy days, or at night time?
According to Family Handyman, “Windows provide us with so many benefits – natural daylight, a quaint view. But during the winter months they become holes in the sides of our homes, letting out all our coveted heat.
The best fix for this is curtains. Basically insulation for windows, curtains create an air gap between the room and the glass.”
Family Handyman goes on to explain that to keep air from escaping out of the top of your curtain rods, you can install a “pelmet,” which is essentially a valance that covers the top of your curtain rail and keeps cold air from escaping.
In addition to some thick curtains, a pelmet will greatly help with your indoor insulation when the weather is particularly cold.
Tip # 3: Install A Programmable Thermostat
“The idea of the programmable thermostat is that you will reduce energy usage when you are away at work or when you are sleeping.
When used correctly, programmable thermostats are touted as saving the homeowner 10-30% on their heating and cooling bills.”
That’s quite a savings! But you can only expect to see that energy savings if you are vigilant about how you program your thermostat.
“A good guideline for winter is to set your programmable thermostat to about 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius) when you are home and lower (about 10-12 degrees Fahrenheit or 6-8 degrees Celsius) when you are sleeping or away.
Get your thermostat to turn on the heat about an hour before you get up or get home.”
Tip # 4: Seal Any Leaks
According to Spark Energy window and door frame gaps are some of the biggest heat loss culprits.
“To fix gaps in window and door framing, remove moldings and fill the gaps using spray foam insulation that’s made specifically for doors and windows, which won’t warp framing as it expands to fill cracks.
Replace the molding and complete the seal by applying a band of paintable acrylic-latex caulk around the frames.
Don’t be intimidated by caulking. To make it look professional, you just need to use a non-glossy clear caulk that won’t show mistakes or buy a cheap caulking tool that scrapes away excess caulk while making the edge solid and straight. You can also install new weatherstripping if you need to.”
Spark Energy also goes on to suggest checking for gaps around any water or waste pipes in your home, sealing and insulating your light switches and outlets, and filling any cracks in your basement with caulking or spray foam to keep your whole house air tight.
Tip # 5: Add Carpets And Area Rugs To Cold Floors
If you have chilly floors SF Gate’s Home Guide suggests,
“Place rugs on the hardwood floor. This will not only keep your feet warmer on the floor surface, but also can help to keep the entire room warmer by giving you a bit of extra insulation.
Rugs are especially important along entryways. Try not to track moisture or snow along the wood floor as you enter from outdoors, because wood is highly absorbent and can retain the liquid and frigid temperature.”
Tip # 6: Inspect Your Furnace
“Whether your home is heated by a gas furnace or an electric heat pump, make sure your system is in good working order before the full brunt of winter hits.
While a complete hardware inspection is best left to the pros (at least once a year), you can at least perform basic maintenance and a quick trial run.”