Ways to Keep Your Indianapolis Home Warm This Winter
Most all families in the Central Indiana area use some form of heating system, whether it’s forced air heat or a boiler, to keep the house warm in winter cold weather. While furnaces do a great job of generating heated air and boilers or radiant systems add heat so people benefit from warm air to stay warm in a living space, these aren’t the only ways to make a house warm.
It’s no secret that heating costs seem higher every year, which mean energy bills and heating bills rise, too. When facing a high heating bill, many homeowners search for alternative ways to make the house warm this winter season, keeping the home’s temperature from becoming too cold while they reduce heating costs. When you know how to use other methods to heat your whole house, you’ll be saving money using less heat from your heater while staying warm all winter long.
There are many things you can do to combat cold air and avoid a cold room this heating season, without spending a fortune on natural gas or electricity for your central heating system. Williams Comfort Air shares how to take advantage of “free heat” using equipment such as a heat recovery ventilator or ceiling fans, as well as ways to reduce heat loss through adding attic insulation and loft insulation, insulating your attic access, sealing air leaks, and installing weather stripping. Our pros also share more ways to save money including capturing natural warmth using your home’s window frames and turning to a hot water bottle, electric blanket, or space heater for the heat you need to keep bodies and feet warm on those cold days and cold nights.
Keep Cold Air Out and Hot Air In
The best way to keep home warm in winter while lowering heating bills is to reduce your home’s heat loss as much as possible. Heat loss occurs as hot air made by the home’s heater escapes the home in some way. Heat loss usually happens due to insufficient insulation and air leaks throughout the whole house. Through these openings, cold air from the outdoors is also able to free flow into the house, which reduces the temperature so you require more warm air from the heater to keep the house warm enough to stay warm and comfortable.
By remedying these sources of heat loss, you’ll be able to keep more heat inside your home – doing so will keep your house warm with less heated air from your central heating unit, so you’ll save energy and money this winter.
- The International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) requires a minimum R-value of R-38 for attic insulation within existing homes in Climate Zone 5, which includes those in the Central Indiana area. R-38 equals about 10 to 14 inches of loft insulation, which many homes in the area are lacking – especially older homes built to lower energy conservation standards. Keep your house warm in winter by increasing insulation levels in your home’s ceilings. With more insulation, you’ll save energy and notice a big difference in how warm your home stays when it’s cold outside.
- Sealing leaks across the house will also help your residence retain more heat and warm air created by the heater, while blocking out cold air from outside the home. Seal leaks by adding insulating materials, installing weather stripping, or using caulk to close holes. Common areas where heat loss occurs due to leaks include the attic access, recessed lighting fixtures, at band joists below the wood floors, around window sills and window frames, and at duct connections in the floor, ceiling, or wall. You can also hang blankets to insulate drafty windows and doors.
Reuse the Home’s Warm Air
A good heating system will produce plenty of warm air for the entire square foot area of the house. Some heat can be lost through ventilation or because it escapes into areas of the home where people cannot feel it and use it to keep their bodies warm. Make the most of this warm air and keep your house warm in winter when you know how to recapture and reuse this heat to your benefit!
- A heat recovery ventilator is a piece of equipment that is used in the home’s ventilation system. It captures heat from the stale outgoing air before that air is expelled from the house, and that heat is used to heat fresh cool air coming into the home. A heat recovery ventilator can pull as much as 90 percent of the heat from exhausted warm air for use heating the fresh cold air that is brought into your living space. With this equipment, you can make your house warm this winter reusing the heat your heating unit initially creates while enjoying fresh air indoors.
- Many people thinking using a ceiling fan is only for the warmer months, but ceiling fans are useful tools for keeping bodies in the house warm. Circulation slows when the body is exposed to cold temperatures – your body will keep its heat to its core, meaning you’ll need more warm air to keep your hands and feet warm! When you set the ceiling fan to spin clockwise, the fan blades take the warm air that has risen to the top of the room and send it back down to the lower areas occupied by people. Through the use of ceiling fans, people in the house benefit from the warm air produced by the heater by recapturing it and moving it back into the right spaces rather than letting it rise and be wasted up high. However, a ceiling fan is only helpful to keep your house warm when people are actually in the space – use ceiling fans when a room or space is occupied and turn them off when the space is empty to save energy.
Use Natural Warmth to Keep Home Warm in Winter
The Sun produces thermal energy that warms our planet each day. This same energy can be used to help keep your house warm in winter, if you know how to capture it! The way you use each window frame in the home can make a big difference in keeping out the cold while providing more warm air for the living areas.
- Open window coverings during daylight hours on sunny days to allow solar energy to heat your living areas. Rooms that receive direct sunlight will notice the greatest increase in warmth, but this strategy is beneficial throughout the home. South facing windows don’t receive much direct sunlight over the winter, so focus on adding thermal energy to other areas of the home. You’ll want to close window coverings once the sun goes down to insulate the glass panes and window frame from heat loss due to leaks and indoor warm air coming into contact with the cold glass.
- Remove any aluminum foil on the window frames to keep your house warm in winter. Some homeowners cover windows with aluminum foil over the warm months to keep heat out so the space stays filled with cool air, as aluminum foil resists heat.
- Your home can absorb more free heat from the sun if you decorate using dark colors! Light colors reflect heat while dark shades absorb light energy. After hours of sunlight exposure, rooms with dark walls and furniture are likely to feel warmer than those with lighter surfaces.
Keep Your House Warm While Avoiding Myths About Saving Money on Heat
There is a lot of advice floating around about how to keep your house warm in winter, but not all of these tips are true, nor are they always safe. To save money on your heating bill this winter, make sure you’re following the right advice.
- DON’T close vents to unused rooms throughout the house. Doing so can pressurize the HVAC system, pushing warm air through leaks around the house and reducing airflow through the heating system. The heater will ultimately use more energy under these conditions rather than save it, and you may even damage your HVAC unit.
- DO keep interior doors, such as the bathroom door and bedroom doors, open as often as possible. Open doors allow warm air to circulate throughout the entire house, spreading heat in all areas to keep your house warm. Some people think shutting doors will reduce energy bills by limiting heat to areas where it isn’t needed, just like closing vents – closing vents and doors are both energy savings myths.
- DON’T turn up the temperature on the thermostat super high to heat your home faster when it’s cold. Turning up the programmable thermostat to an extreme temperature won’t cause the heater to make hot air any faster. In reality, you’re likely to forget you turned up the temperature in the first place and overheat your home, wasting heat. Instead, use a programmable thermostat to set temperature changes around your daily schedule so you always arrive home to a warm residence.
- DO add a hot water bottle to your bed at night. The hot water will radiate heat so your body stays warmer under your covers. Using a hot water bottle is an easy and affordable way to stay warm without additional heating costs. Using a heating blanket or pad can also be helpful for providing the extra warmth you need for overnight comfort.
- DON’T leave your oven door open to add hot air to your home. Leaving the oven door open is extremely dangerous and can cause burns or even a fire. If you need to add heat to an area, using a space heater is a much safer and more efficient solution.
- DO change your furnace filter regularly. A clogged furnace filter increases the system’s energy use as it forces the unit to struggle and draw more power as it runs. Check the filter each month and install a new furnace filter whenever needed.
Winter Heating Help in Central Indiana
The tips above can help you stay warm while limiting the use of your heating system to save money this winter. For HVAC services that will help lower your heating bill, including heating maintenance and heating repair, call Williams Comfort Air today.