Winter is a time for hot chocolate, holiday movies, and ugly sweaters. Unfortunately, it can also be a time of extreme low temperatures and power outages. When it comes to keeping your home and family comfortable, the AC Express team has your back. We’ll cover essential home heating safety tips and advice for how to handle losing power due to winter weather.
The Safest Way To Heat Your Home
Some may be surprised, but a central heating system is the best bet for heating the entire house safely and efficiently when it comes to home comfort. Additionally, if you currently use a gas-powered heating system, consider upgrading to an electric model. Appliances powered by electricity are more precise, and heating systems powered by gas can leak toxic fumes — such as carbon monoxide — which can be lethal in large quantities.
Rely on Alternative Heating Methods Sparingly
Another major component in keeping your home safe this season is to know when and how to use alternative heating methods in the home. According to the American Red Cross, heating equipment is one of the main causes of home fires in the United States. Keep these tips in mind as you go through this winter:
- Don’t heat your home with the oven. The oven isn’t designed to heat up a space, so using the oven as an alternative heating method for a large building is not only dangerous but inefficient as well. Gas-powered appliances are even more at-risk than electric appliances as they have better chances of starting a fire or leaking gas.
- Do use space heaters — correctly. A space heater is by name designed to heat up a space; however, they aren’t designed to heat your entire home. Most space heaters are typically used to heat one of the outer rooms of a home, such as a garage. Space heaters can be a great temporary and portable source of heat, but make sure to use them in an area with lots of ventilation and to keep pets and children away from the surface as they can burn themselves.
- Don’t sleep on a heating pad. Heating pads and electric blankets can seem to be a great solution for personal warmth on a chilly night, but they can lead to dangerous situations in the home. Most modern heated blankets and pads are equipped with an auto-shut-off feature that turns the blankets off after around two hours of use. However, older equipment may not have this feature and could also be damaged in a way that could lead to a home fire. Make sure to turn off heated items before going to sleep and leave them uncovered to reduce the chances of fire.
How to Heat Your Home Efficiently
Say you already have an electric heating system. Do you feel confident that you’re using your system as efficiently as you could be? You can save big on your heating and cooling costs and reduce your energy consumption by following these efficient heating practices:
1. Changing the Air Filter
Did you know changing the air filter in your HVAC system is the easiest and most cost-effective way to keep your energy bills down? When your heating system forces air through a blocked air filter, it has to work harder just to get less air out and into your home. By changing your filter according to manufacturer recommendations (typically at least once every 30 to 90 days), you can reduce the general wear and tear your system goes through on a daily basis.
2. Seasonal HVAC System Maintenance
Scheduling regular maintenance for your heating and cooling system reduces the chance for small problems to evolve into large, costly repairs. By hiring a professional to check out your HVAC unit, you’ll gain peace of mind and lower energy bills throughout the year.
When to Schedule HVAC Maintenance
Your system should be maintained at least two times per year. Typically, homeowners schedule heating maintenance in the fall and cooling maintenance in the spring. This ensures your system is ready for use during peak usage periods and helps to prevent your system from going out during the busy season for HVAC technicians.
Heating Your Home in an Emergency
When the power goes out, and you don’t have access to heat, all can seem lost. However, there are many ways to keep your home warm without your HVAC system:
- Hang insulated curtains
- Use blankets
- Layer up
- Invest in a rug
- Open the blinds
- Use the fireplace
- Create a candle heater
AC Express wants to help you keep your home safe and cozy all winter long! Contact our team online or by phone at (512) 866-5520 today to schedule your furnace or heater repairs and installations!