When winter arrives, it’s time to turn up the heat to keep your home warm and comfortable. Many people crank the heat up to the highest settings to really keep the cold at bay, but this is not a good idea. This will cause a severe spike in your energy bills and it places your heating system under considerable stress. When heating and cooling equipment is overworked, it’s more prone to failure when you need it most. This can lead to an interruption in service and a hefty repair bill. But, it is possible to stay warm without breaking the bank and damaging your heating system. In this article, we will show you some clever ways to use your thermostat and some other useful tips.

Set a Day Time Temperature

When we adjust the thermostat and set a high temperature, it’s a huge waste of energy with very little reward in terms of home comfort. Bear in mind that the warmer your home is, the more quickly that thermal energy will be lost. This is true even if you have good insulation levels and it is possible to have a home that is too warm. Of course, the whole point of a heating system is to keep your home warm, but this is possible without going overboard. Setting an internal temperature in the 68º-72º range when people are at home is optimal. During the day, these temperatures are sufficient to make the home feel comfortable without it feeling too cool or too warm. This applies no matter the clothing that people choose to wear indoors.

Set a Night Time or Away Temperature

At night when everyone is tucked up in bed, you don’t need as much heating to stay comfortable. This same principle applies when the home will be empty for an extended period of time when people are at work, school or engaging in other outdoor activities. Running your heating system at high temperature settings when the home is empty is a massive waste of energy and ultimately money. An ideal temperature setting for these two scenarios is 58º-62º which is more than sufficient to keep furry pets comfortable.

Choose Energy Efficient Equipment

If you have an aging furnace or heat pump, you may have noticed that they take longer to heat up your home. As this lengthy process takes place, your home will feel colder for longer and this can be very uncomfortable. Improving the response of your furnace is important if you want effective and efficient heating that you can rely on. As HVAC equipment ages, it loses a considerable amount of energy efficiency. This can be minimized with regular maintenance, but sooner or later you will notice the difference. Another characteristic of older furnaces is that they tend to require more frequent repairs which really drives up the costs of ownership. Investing in a new furnace or matched HVAC equipment with improved energy efficiency makes good financial sense in the medium to long-term. If you’re worried about your aging furnace, contact your local heating and cooling specialist for expert help and advice.

Use the Power of the Sun

If you have windows that face south, you may be missing out on some free heating for your home. The sun can create a lot of heat in your home even during the colder winter months. During the summer, you may want to draw the curtains and close the blinds to keep the sunlight out because it makes the rooms warmer. The opposite is true in winter, the windows should not be covered to let the heat inside. A great deal of heat is even retained after the sun goes down because the furniture and soft furnishings stay warm for a while.

Seal Air Leaks

The treated air (warm or cool) can escape from your home via a few different routes. When you seal these air leaks the energy efficiency is improved and the demands on your system are lessened. This makes the entire system work better and it is less prone to failures which can lead to expensive repair bills. Check the door and window frames for drafts and seal any gaps with weather-stripping or caulk. Add extra insulation in the attic if you need it and make sure the heat vents are sealed. Look for gaps between the top of your baseboards and the drywall where heat can escape and seal them with caulk.

Upgrade Your Thermostat

The thermostat is an often overlooked aspect of the HVAC systems, but it’s the brain of your entire system. Changes made at the thermostat can have a dramatic effect on how the system performs and the energy efficiency. Aside from the thermostat wars that occur in many homes during the heating and cooling seasons, there are other issues to consider. A basic programmable thermostat can make the changes detailed above at set times of the day. But, if you make the switch to a smart thermostat you can do so much more. This unit can be controlled remotely via Wifi using your preferred mobile device or a computer. You can make changes in real-time and monitor the energy efficiency to maximize your energy savings. If there is a problem in the system, you can even receive an alert via email. When you combine a smart thermostat with zoning you can end the battle over the indoor temperatures forever.

Get a Tune-Up

Like every complex system, your HVAC system needs regular maintenance to work at optimal efficiency. Many people wait until something goes wrong before they call their local heating and cooling specialist, but this is the wrong approach. If you are proactive, you can prevent large and unexpected repair bills and boost the energy efficiency. A licensed and certified HVAC technician can identify minor issues before they develop into larger problems that are more expensive to fix. If you’ve missed a couple of years don’t despair, it is possible to restore some of the lost efficiency with a comprehensive tune-up.