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Home Heating Efficiency Tips

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Home Heating Efficiency Tips - Ann Arbor, MI - Clean Sweeps of MichiganKeeping their homes warm and comfortable is a major priority for most homeowners during the cold months of winter. For many, this heat comes from furnaces, fireplaces, or other fuel burning appliances. Unfortunately, if not used correctly these appliances may run inefficiently, resulting in a loss of heat and energy. Likewise, heat may be unintentionally lost in other areas of the home, even to the point of allowing cold air in.

There are several steps homeowners can take to help their homes heat more efficiently and to reduce a loss of heat and energy. By following manufacturer’s instructions for care and maintenance on heating appliances and utilizing tips for minimizing heat loss, homeowners can keep their homes warm and their heating costs low all winter long.

Insulate windows and doors

Most people have been in homes where there air in front of the windows is considerably colder than the rest of the house. The Energy Information Administration estimates that as much as one third of a home’s heat loss occurs around windows and doors. There are several things homeowners can do to combat this energy loss.

Drapes and curtains: Drapes and curtains covering windows can serve more than just a decorative purpose. When thick draperies are hung over windows, they can minimize drafts and reduce heat loss by as much as 25%.
Caulking: As homes age and settle, small cracks or gaps may develop around window frames. These holes can let cold air in while allowing warm air to escape. Applying caulk around a window frame seals these gaps; weather stripping is recommended for use around a window’s moveable parts. According to the US Department of Energy, the cost of weather stripping or caulking can be recouped through utility savings in as little as one year.

Install a programmable thermostat

While programmable or digital thermostats are the norm in most new homes, older homes may not have them. By installing a programmable thermostat, homeowners can control the exact temperature of their home, some even adjusting to half-degrees. Many models also come with timers, allowing the thermostat to automatically raise or lower the temperature throughout the day. Doing this reduces energy costs as the temperature can be set lower during the day when no one is home so the heater does not run, only to be raised again in the afternoon and evening.

Consider wood or pellet heating

To reduce energy costs, consider using a wood or pellet burning appliance as a supplemental heater. With major advances in energy efficiency, these fuel burning appliances are able to produce large amounts of heat with minimal emissions. Using a pellet or wood stove for zone heating – or only heating a specific area of a home – reduces overall utility costs.

Likewise, larger wood or pellet stoves may be able to be used to heat an entire home, eliminating the need for a furnace or boiler. A 1,300 square foot home will need a unit that produces around 42,000 BTU, while a larger, 2,000 square foot home will need upwards of 60,000 BTU. When selecting a unit, however, it is extremely important to select the right size; a unit that is too small will not produce enough heat, whereas a unit that is too large may overheat the house, making it equally uncomfortable. Because of this, it is best to work with a reputable dealer when selecting a wood or pellet stove.

If you have questions about how to increase your home’s heating efficiency, contact the experts at Clean Sweeps of Michigan today!