Daffan’s Top Five Winter Heating Tips

Friday, September 19th, 2014

Fall has begun, and a spooky and scary Halloween is just a few weeks away. But what may truly make your hair stand on end could be the first heating bill of the winter!

None of us want a bad hair day like that, so we’ve rounded up and organized the best tips for saving money on heating this winter. On the bright side, we’ve got several weeks of pleasant weather to winterize our homes and also repair and replace any old and inefficient heating equipment.

Here’s our Top 5 Winter Heating Tips:

1. Upgrade to more efficient heating appliances.

If you’re furnace is more than 15 years old, it’s definitely time to think about replacing it with one of today’s high-efficiency systems. A furnace’s efficiency is rated by its annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE), a measure of how well the appliance converts energy from fuel to heat over a typical year. For example, an AFUE of 80 percent means that 80 percent of the energy in the fuel ends up heating the home, and 20 percent escapes up the chimney or flue. Old heating systems might have an AFUE of 50 to 70 percent, whereas new systems can be as efficient as 80 to 98.5 percent! Talk to a Daffan Cooling & Heating tech to learn more about your heating options, and be sure to check out the Energy Star label information on any new appliance you are considering.

2. Year-round maintenance of your HVAC equipment.

You don’t want to get caught in a bad situation where your furnace stops working during the coldest part of the winter. As we all know, it’s these kind of emergency situations that get expensive, because of last minute decisions and after hours charges, and you also may have to pay for something to temporarily heat the home while you wait for your new equipment to be installed. The best time of year to have your HVAC equipment checked out is during the off-season. That means now! To avoid any future headaches, be sure to ask us about the Daffan Maintenance Club program, which includes annual A/C and heating tune-ups.

3. Consider more or better insulation.

Now is a good time of year to go up into the attic and assess your insulation. A quick approach is to measure the thickness of your insulation. If it is less than 11 inches for fiberglass or rock wool, or less than 8 inches of cellulose, your insulation rating could be less than R-30, and you could improve your home’s heating (and cooling) ability by adding more. Beyond the attic, assess your need for insulation in the walls, basement or crawl space. Also, check pipes and ductwork for air leaks.

4. Check your hot water equipment and settings.

Just like with furnaces, manufacturers are making water heaters more and more efficient every year. If you’ve got an old water heater, consider replacing it with a high-efficiency model. Otherwise, check your hot water temperature setting and lower it a few degrees to save on heating costs. Many efficiency consultants say a setting of 120 degrees will provide comfortable hot water for showers and other uses.

5. Practice smart home heating habits.

If you don’t have one already, get a programmable thermostat and set it for as low as comfortable for winter temps. Program it so that it automatically fits your schedule: a little cooler when you’re at work or away from home, warmer in the evening when you are at home, and then a little cooler when you turn in for the night.

Clean or replace your furnace filters as recommended. Ask your friendly Daffan Cooling & Heating technician to recommend a filter maintenance schedule.

During winter, open the drapes or shades on south-facing windows during the day to allow sunlight to heat your home, then close them at night to block off the chill from cold or icy windows.