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Tips for Efficient Heating this Winter

October 7, 2016

With current weather so comfortable that we can forgo the air conditioning, it’s difficult to think about heating season. However, this welcome period of system dormancy is when you should make sure your home and HVAC equipment are ready for winter. Not only is it important to have heating components checked, but to also winterize and condition your home so it can do its best to keep you comfortable and warm in the coming months.

Preparation and prevention

Don’t overlook the importance of a seasonal system tune-up. This service is a surefire way to get your heating equipment ready for colder months ahead. The technicians at Dominion Service Company are skilled in nearly all makes and models of equipment and cover every feature and component of your system. It’s also a great time to ask us any questions you might have about energy efficiency and comfort in your home.

Seasonal tune ups and preventative maintenance service includes, but is not limited to the following services…

  • Thorough cleaning of internal parts & drains
  • Calibrating thermostat
  • Inspect/tighten electrical components
  • Measuring voltage/amps
  • Lubricating moving parts
  • Inspecting system controls & ducts
  • Testing of safety controls
  • Clean/install return air filters
  • Check/monitor refrigerant pressure

Scheduling a seasonal tune up can mean the difference in efficient, cost-effective heating this season and emergency repairs in the dead of winter. There are many benefits of tune ups, including reduced energy bills, extended equipment life, improved comfort and, most importantly, peace of mind!

Related: What’s the lifespan of residential heating equipment?

Take matters into your own hands

There are many factors that determine the strength of your home’s “envelope” and how well it prevents heat loss. When homeowners think about efficient heating, the focus usually turns to the thermostat. According to energy experts, every degree you lower the thermostat this heating season you can reduce your energy costs by as much as 3 percent. This is a great tip to improve comfort and reduce costs, but there are other areas to check out if you’re serious about achieving optimal efficiency this heating season.

Identify drafts

Open windows in the fall are great, but you wouldn’t leave a window open throughout winter, right? Those cracks, gaps and openings around windows, doors, pipes and vents can create a significant amount of heat loss, comparable to leaving a window open. The EPA estimates that homeowners can save approximately 15% on heating and cooling costs, and roughly 11% on total energy costs by sealing up leaks and cracks.

Related: More tips for saving on winter heating costs

Have your chimney inspected

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends chimneys be swept at the beginning of winter to remove soot and debris. This should include an inspection to check for damage and proper chimney cap function. Unless the fireplace is in use, keep the damper closed. If you don’t use your fireplace, plug and seal the chimney flue. These suggestions improve warmth as well as safety. According to the NFPA, fireplaces and chimneys are involved in 42% of all home-heating fires.

Ensure adequate insulation

Based on research from the DOE, sufficient insulation in your attic, floors, crawlspaces, basement and exterior walls can reduce your heating costs by as much as 25% percent. Heat loss occurs where warm air rises and exits the home through cracks and gaps. Attics are one of the most significant sources of heat loss, but luckily pretty cost-effective to insulate. Insulating heating ducts is another strategy to prevent heat loss this winter.

Check exterior vents

Once heating season is in full swing, it doesn’t hurt close the vents in your home’s foundation. These vents function to provide air circulation in and out of the crawlspace. During warmer months, leaving them open prevents moisture buildup. In cold temperatures, closing the vents reduces chance of frozen pipes and heat loss. Insulated covers are a great option for sealing off the crawl space. There are also a variety of automatic vents available that do the work for you.

Your comfort is our goal

Dominion Service Company believes that comfort is as much about proper system maintenance as it is education and awareness on what you can do as homeowners. Preventative maintenance and seasonal tune-ups are a great time to pick your technician’s brain on anything regarding HVAC, efficiency and comfort. Our team promises to provide honest recommendations on all of your heating and cooling needs.

Be proactive—schedule service today! Contact us at (804) 745-0007