Let’s face it – the winter can bring plenty of snow, frigid temperatures and high heating bills, and many people scramble to our Ames heating repair experts in search of tips, suggestions and advice about how to remedy those high bills. The key to enjoying lower energy bills while still being able to safely and efficiently heat your home may be something you’re interested in learning. Following are seven myths about heating Ames, Iowa homes and some advice on how to properly keep your home warm without breaking the bank or putting you and your family in harm’s way:
- Myth: Water heaters are always efficient. Actually, heating the water used in homes on average account for 18% of household utility bills. If you lower the thermostat of your electric water heater down to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, you could save between $24-$60 per year, according to the EPA. You can also wrap your tank in a fiberglass blanket to help retain heat longer.
- Myth: Materials to winterize your home are expensive. The fact is that getting your home ready for the frigid temperatures is actually an inexpensive way to insulate your home and keep more heat in (and more cold air out). Changing to heavier sheets and blankets for beds is one thing, but what about your windows? Putting heavy, insulated drapes up for the winter can actually keep a tremendous amount of heat inside, where you want it. Weatherstripping for doors and windows can cover a couple dozen feet of frame for under $10, and plastic film to put over windows is also extremely cheap and incredibly effective.
- Myth: Portable space heaters use a ton of energy. On the contrary – they actually can be an energy-efficient option for homes when only a small area needs to be heated. A central furnace system will still be a home’s main source of heat, but if your home doesn’t have central heating, a space heater will be your best bet.
- Myth: Turning your heat off when no one is home for several hours will save you money. Unfortunately this is not true, but many people still assume it is. It takes more energy to heat a home that is very cold than it does to maintain a slightly higher temperature instead. Also, if you turn the heat off for the day, you run the risk of encouraging frozen pipes, which can quickly turn into an expensive nightmare in itself. Instead of turning the furnace off, just turn the thermostat temperature down a few degrees.
- Myth: Using a fireplace will reduce your heating bills. Keep in mind that fireplaces most often today are designed for aesthetic reasons – ambiance and environmental additions. Most of your heating will still come from a central furnace. If you will still be using a fireplace during the winter, be sure that you have your chimney inspected once per year for safety reasons.
- Myth: Having cold feet is just a fact of winter. In actuality, if you find that your feet are constantly cold while you’re indoors during the winter, chances are pretty good that your home isn’t winterized properly. Drafts can creep in without much notice, until you realize how cold your toes are. Be sure to install weatherstripping at doors and windows and check floor registers to ensure none are covered with furniture or other objects.
- Myth: Electric blankets are a waste of energy. Quite the opposite is true, in fact, and electric blankets actually use very little energy. They are certainly much more energy-efficient than using the same-weighted non-electric blanket in a home that is kept at higher temperatures!
For more ideas and suggestions about the facts of efficiently heating your home this winter, contact Neighbors today! We can help you save money on your heating bills, perform Ames heating repair and preventive maintenance, install a new thermostat, and more.