With summer coming to an end, we’re preparing to send the kids off to school and return back to our normal routines. Soon enough, we’ll be trading the A/C and ceiling fans for heat, and retiring those flip flops and bathing suits for fuzzy socks and warm jackets.
As we’ve said before, there is no better time than Fall to have your seasonal system tune-up. Now is also a great time to familiarize yourself with best practices for running your heating system efficiently. Most of us want to lower energy bills while increasing comfort, but in doing so we often fall victim to some of the most believable heating myths out there that can end up costing more money in the long run.
As you turn up the thermostat this heating season, be aware of these top 5 misconceptions…
- MYTH #1—Cranking up the thermostat is the fastest, most effective way to heat your home.
Many believe that if they increase the thermostat up to 80-85° the space will heat much faster. However, when you crank up the temperature, the only thing it’s doing is causing your heating equipment to run longer and consume more energy. This misconception is common but is simply untrue. Thermostats aren’t responsible for the amount of heat the system creates, but for the basic task of powering on and off when desired temperature is reached.
- MYTH #2—Programmable thermostats do all the work for you.
When we think of programmable thermostats, we assume everything is automated. Depending on the model and features, it takes time and trial-and-error to identify optimum thermostat settings for your schedule, season and climate. Unless you have a smart thermostat capable of learning your behaviors and preferences that you can eventually set and forget, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with the device’s program schedules and get comfortable with its features and options.
- MYTH #3—Using both the heat and fireplace warms your home faster and more efficiently.
Although it feels warm and cozy, don’t mistake a wood-burning fireplace as a primary source of heat for your home this Fall and Winter. The misconception is that when the fireplace is burning, you run less heat, when in fact fireplaces don’t release nearly as much heat as they emit out the chimney. When the fireplace and heating system are operating simultaneously, the fireplace takes heated air and sends it straight up the chimney. The best way to avoid heat loss is to not run both the heating system and the fireplace at the same time.
- MYTH #4—Energy efficient windows offer generous ROI and energy savings.
This one is two-sided because it’s true and false. Energy efficient windows improve how the space traps heat, which lowers energy consumption and results in cheaper bills. However, seeing this kind of return takes time. Depending on the size of your space and number of windows, it can be a huge investment. Sometimes it takes years before the initial investment in new windows is offset by energy savings. According to the DOE, replacing old windows for new ones marked with the EnergyStar logo can save up to 15% per year on energy costs.
- MYTH #5—Sticking with a consistent 24-hour temperature saves more on energy costs.
It’s natural to believe that leaving the system running at a consistent temperature throughout the day is a more cost and energy efficient option than setting the temperature back or cycling the system off periodically. The truth is that heating systems consume very little energy when they are set back or turned off even when they’ll eventually need to bring it back to a comfortable temperature after downtime. So for low occupancy times of day, overnight and when you’re away for extended periods of time it’s always a better practice to turn the thermostat down.
Clear up those heating misconceptions—schedule service today!
Do you want to save money on heating costs this Fall and Winter? An understanding of your system and equipment is important, but what’s critical is preventative maintenance and seasonal tune-ups. During service, our technician will ensure your system is in top shape to run efficiently all season long, but we’ll also educate you on best practices and ways you can achieve greater comfort and efficiency in between service.
To learn more about our residential HVAC services, contact Dominion Service Company today at 800-832-0758.