When the winter settles in and outdoor temperatures plunge, staying cozy and warm becomes a challenge for homeowners. By taking the following steps, it's possible to keep your home warm during freezing temperatures.
Maximize Heat Distribution
To get the full benefit of every energy dollar and keep your home warm during freezing temperatures, you need to optimize heat distribution. If you have a forced air system, vacuum dust and dirt from around the registers to maintain air circulation. Clean each register and the accessible ducting. Make sure registers aren't blocked by furniture, long drapes or rugs so the air can circulate freely. Heated air naturally rises, so put all ceiling fans in reverse with the blades moving clockwise to push it back down into the living space.
Add Moisture to the Air
When outdoor temperatures drop in the winter, the humidity level falls dramatically since cold air holds less moisture than warm air. Home heating pulls even more moisture from the air, making it difficult to stay warm without dialing up the thermostat and wasting energy. Low humidity also erodes indoor air quality and can cause health complaints such as chapped lips, itchy skin, dry nasal passages and respiratory problems. Having a humidifier installed within your home's HVAC system is the most effective way to add a controlled amount of moisture to dry indoor air, but you can also run portable units in occupied rooms.
Maintain the Heating Equipment
Heating equipment that operates reliably is crucial to keep your home warm during freezing temperatures. Having the heating system inspected, cleaned and tuned up by a licensed HVAC professional ensures that it's ready to perform efficiently and safely all winter long. Remember to check the air filter every month, and replace it when it looks dirty. If you use a supplemental space heater, fireplace or wood stove, make sure it's working properly and vented to the outdoors so hazardous combustion fumes don't circulate in the air supply.
Air Seal the Living Space
You can help prevent unnecessary heat loss by identifying and sealing sources of air leaks around the home. Check common problem areas inside such as around window frames, exterior doors, recessed lights and electrical outlets using a smoke pencil. Outside, look for trouble spots around the foundation, siding and chimney, along with shell penetrations such as electrical wires, plumbing pipes and HVAC vents. Install sweeps and weatherstripping around exterior doors. Use appropriate caulking products, foam insulators or expandable foam spray to plug other leaks you locate.
Pay Attention to the Windows
Older windows can be a major cause of heat loss, and while replacing them with new efficient units is the best way to save energy, it's not always an option. As an alternative, add exterior storm windows or seal drafty windows with plastic film and double-sided tape. Installing heavy, tight-fitting blinds or drapes is another effective way to keep heat indoors. You can even benefit from free solar heat in the winter by opening the coverings on south-facing windows to let the sunshine radiate inside during the day. Just remember to close the shades or blinds at night to retain the warmth.
Boost Attic Insulation
Ample insulation on the attic floor not only increases comfort, it also helps keep energy consumption and costs under control all year long. In this region, the Department of Energy (DOE) advises that homeowners should install a total R-value between 49 and 60 to effectively keep heated air from rising up into the attic. Be sure to seal up air leaks beforehand, and insulate areas such as knee walls and the attic access hatch.
Keeping Your Home Warm During Freezing Temperatures
Here are some other easy ways to boost the comfort inside your home when the weather turns frigid:
- Use the oven more often and you'll benefit from a boost of coziness in the kitchen.
- Dress in layers of warm clothing, and keep your feet toasty by wearing thick socks and slippers.
- Warm up by taking a hot bath. Don't drain the tub until the water cools to let all that heat energy radiate and allow the air to absorb some extra moisture.
To find a trustworthy contractor for help with home heating issues in your area of Chicago, southwest Michigan or northwest Indiana, contact us today at Comfort24-7.com.