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AC and Heating Tip from AC Express

How to Keep Warm and Minimize Heater Usage

How to Keep Warm and Minimize Heater Usage

There’s something about the fall. Whether it’s the freshly fallen crunchy red and yellow leaves on the ground or the soft cool breeze through the air, something about this time of year just feels right, especially in contrast with the punishing heat of the summer. But just because we live in a place where the fall is generally cool in a pleasant way doesn’t mean that we’re never going to need to warm ourselves up. The tradeoff we get for having generally nice fall weather is the fact that in our little part of the world the temperature is never predictable and you could enjoy pleasant t-shirt wearing weather one day and then wake up the next day cold and shivering.

Heating in Austin is often needed at unpredictable times throughout the months of October and November, when the weather starts to flirt with cold weather but hasn’t fully committed yet. Nevertheless, it’s starting to come time to rev up those heaters and filling our houses with artificially warmed air. But you don’t have to just rely on your heater to be comfortable. If you want to minimize your use of your heater, and you should, because it’s better for the heater and your wallet, try out some the following tips. This tip of the day is all about small and big things you can do to stay warm this season without relying entirely on the power of your furnace or heat pump.

Use Your Curtains

This one is so easy and simple you may be doing it already. If not, don’t underestimate the impact your curtains can have. The best method for maximizing the amount of warmth in your house in conjunction with your curtains is to keep them open when there’s a lot of direct sunlight coming through the windows and then keeping them closed any other time. When you’ve got direct sunlight coming in, it will help warm your house and closing the curtains would just deprive your home of that totally free source of heat.

When there isn’t direct sunlight though, you’ll want to keep those curtains closed. This will have the effect of trapping the heat in your house that your heater does provide. This means less heat is going to be escaping anyway it can, namely, the windows. And to improve this effect even further, consider buying some thermal curtains. These do just as their name suggests and keep your house warm by preventing even more heat from escaping than normal curtains. Give them a shot and you may find you can lower your heater setting a little and still feel just as warm thanks to the heat trapping power of thermal curtains.

Try Draught Excluders

It’s common sense that the better insulated your home is, the less work your heater will have to do to keep you warm. Insulation is all about keeping the warm in and the cold out. The less gaps and cracks there are between your house and the outside, the less heat will escape. But many methods of increasing your houses insulation are expensive and time consuming. Not everyone wants to completely redo their house’s internal insulation system just to be able to lower their thermostat by a few degrees.

Luckily, there are a couple of methods of increasing your houses insulation that aren’t costly or work heavy, one of those is using draught excluders. You can use draught excluders by placing them under doors, and this will block the gaps where the cold air gets through and the warm air escapes. It’s pretty simple. By placing something which will block the draught, you will eliminate the cold and keep your rooms warmer. You are also keeping the warm air inside rather than allowing it to escape. The kind of draught excluders that are placed under doors tend to be long padded cushions. They are filled with foam, beads or sand and just sit under the door. If you are going in and out of a room, you can fit an excluder under the door itself. This then fills the gap, but still leaves you able to open the door from either side without removing the draught excluder.

The Tin Foil Radiator Trick

This tip is specifically for those with boilers. It sounds a little strange at first but don’t discount what works. It’s a fact that you’re losing some heat that your boiler creates because the wall directly behind the radiator will absorb heat that the radiator gives off. Three sides of the radiator are sending heat outward into the house but the side that’s facing the wall is being mostly wasted due to this absorption by the wall.

But if you can get your hand on some heat reflective aluminum foil you can prevent this and increase the efficiency of your radiator. This special kind of aluminum foil generally isn’t very expensive. All that needs to be done is to attach a thin layer of the foil behind the radiator. This will cause the heat that radiates from that side of the radiator to reflect back into the room instead of being absorbed by the non-reflective wall material. You could even use high quality kitchen foil, though it won’t be quite as effective as using foil specifically designed to repel heat.

Don’t Neglect your Ceiling Fans

Just because you don’t want to be cooled down anymore doesn’t mean your ceiling fans should remain stagnant for the next few months. Did you know that fans can actually help you stay warm if used correctly? It sounds counterintuitive but it’s true. If you have ceiling fans in your home, they may be sitting needlessly dormant during the winter months. Many fans have a “winter” setting, which reverses the fan so that it moves clockwise vs. counterclockwise. Since heat rises, the clockwise-spinning fan will push the heat back down into your rooms versus being trapped up at the ceilings. This is especially recommended if you have high or sloped ceilings. Some experts don’t trust the efficacy of doing this, as the fan may just cool the air too much, but try it out on a low speed, and see if it warms the room. You may find this to be a cheap and easy way to lower the burden on your heater and keep your house nice and toasty.

Warm Clothes

Your warm clothes aren’t just for braving the outside cold. They can also be used strategically in the house so that your heater doesn’t have to be turned up as high. There are plenty of reasons to wear warm clothes like heavy sweaters and cozy jackets inside. One, of course, is that you’ll stay warm without having to crank the heater as high. The other is you’ll be nice and cozy. Who doesn’t like a nice, warm, and cozy sweater during the cold months?

And don’t neglect your feet. It’s been shown in studies that keeping your feet warm is one of the most important things you can do if you want to be warm overall. The feet are a very important part of the body in that a lot of heat escapes through them. So invest in some nice wool socks or just wear the warmest socks you own when you’re in your home and you’ll be that much closer to staying nice and warm with the smallest effort.

Rugs Can Help

This trick is for those with a lot of non-carpeted floors in their home. Hardwood floors are great for a lot of reasons. They look nice and they’re easy to clean. But they can also be a source of coldness in the fall and winter months. Laying rugs on your floors could help keep your home somewhat warmer during cool temperatures, and at minimum helps to make that walk across the cold wood or tile more bearable. So this gives you a nice excuse to redecorate and spend a little on a rug that doubles as both a pleasant looking addition to the room’s ambience and method for helping you stay warm in your own home.

Watch for Blocked Vents

The last thing you want is for the warm air that your heater sends out to be lost in the vents due to a blocked vent opening. Make sure you don’t have any furniture around that is in front of a vent. They should all be unobstructed so they can send all the air produced by your heater out freely into the house.

You may have unknowingly placed furniture in front of heating vents when you moved in or rearranged. Go around the house and double check that vents aren’t blocked, and if they are, find a way to move your furniture, at least for the winter. This will make sure every room is getting its max heat potential. Blocking return vents in a forced-air central heating system could also cause air pressure issues, which further disrupts the flow of heat.

Close Doors Strategically

Do you have rooms in your home that aren’t used very often, like a guest room or a den? Keep the doors to these rooms closed as often as possible to reduce the amount of travel and circulation the warm air has to do, just make sure you also close the vents in those rooms. This sort of acts to lower the heated square footage, and the warm air will spread quicker and easier through the house. The larger your house is, the harder it is going to be for your heater to keep it warm. Mitigate this effect by keeping doors shut when you can.

Also, for rooms you do spend more time in, keeping the door shut while you in them can help create a warm air trapping effect. This means you should definitely keep your bedroom door closed when you’re sleeping.

Keeping Warm and Heater Repair in Austin

There is way more than one way to stay warm in the winter and fall in Austin. Heating the air is what the heater is for but there’s so much more to it than that. You’ve got to consider the clothes you wear, the curtains and rugs you use, the insulation in your house, and more. It’s entirely possible to reduce your usage of your heater while still staying just as comfortable and warm with a few of the tips as stated above.

As your heater is still the most important piece of the staying warm puzzle, the last thing you want is to be without a working one for long if something goes wrong. That’s why you want to be able to contact an experienced professional and get professional heating repair in Austin when you need it. AC Express operates all across the Austin area, from Cedar Park and Georgetown to Leander and Lakeway. If you need Austin heater repair services that will leave you satisfied and your heater in tip top shape, call AC Express today!


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