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The 9 Most Common Bone-Chilling Home Heating Mistakes

Heater Trouble

Home Heating Mistakes: 9 Common Bone-Chilling Blunders

Is it cold in here? You may be making one of these home heating mistakes. While you’re not alone, you shouldn’t be freezing in your own home. Find help here.
Winter is coming, and you know what that means. It’s finally time to crank up that home heating system!

However, winter also means rising utility costs and potential safety hazards.

To make sure you’re not burning a hole in your wallet or putting your family in danger, take note of these nine common heating mistakes to avoid this winter.

Ignoring Those Strange Smells From Your Heater

If something doesn’t smell right, there’s probably something wrong. Even if it’s as benign as burnt dust, every weird smell should be investigated.

However, one particular odor should give you particular concern.

If your heater is emitting a foul rotten egg odor, there’s a good chance you have a gas leak on your hands. It could also indicate that there’s a crack in the furnace and carbon monoxide fumes are creeping into your house.

Either way, avoid aerosol air freshener and candles if you smell something funny. And remember, at the first hint of a gas leak, leave your house right away and dial 9-1-1 for assistance.

Not Maintaining Your Heater and Furnace

It’s easy to forget to maintain your home heating system, but neglecting your furnace will create more stress and expenses in the long-term.

Most importantly, taking care of your heater is the safest option.

Next to keeping your heater clean, you need to have your entire heating, ventilation, and air conditioning inspected and replaced periodically. This is more commonly known as your HVAC system.

Blasting Your Heater Too Quickly

Naturally, you want to turn your heater way, way up after strolling into an ice cold house, but it’s actually a bad idea.

If your home is too cold, and you crank up the heat too fast, all you’re doing is wasting money. Your thermostat doesn’t dictate how fast your home heats up, rather, it just sets the temperature you want.

Moreover, if you set your thermostat to 85 degrees, you’ll inevitably turn it down later. This is just more money in the end, plus, it puts unnecessary strain on your furnace.

Using That Old Fashioned Fireplace Too Much

There’s nothing cozier than sitting by a warm fire at home. While gathering around the fireplace is perfect for special occasions, you shouldn’t use it as your primary home heating system.

Wood-burning fireplaces come with the following baggage:

  • It’s one extra thing to clean!
  • Fireplace smoke can bring in harmful carbon dioxide and methane fumes.
  • They’re not healthy for your lungs. Fireplace smoke also pumps carcinogens into your home.
  • Wood-burning fireplaces are technically only 15% efficient. This is because most heat escapes out of your chimney.

If you’re crazy about fireplaces, consider installing a safer, more cost-effective alternative.

Leaving The Heater On When You’re Not At Home

This is one of the most common mistakes people make with home heating.

Who doesn’t want to walk into a pre-heated home? But who really likes those huge winter utility bills?

Always avoid leaving the heater on when you’re not at home. Not only is it expensive, it’s not safe either. This is especially true for space heaters.

However, you don’t need to shutter the heating vents in spare rooms or other unused rooms in your home. Contrary to popular belief, when you close heating vents in some rooms, your heater doesn’t send extra hot air throughout the house. In fact, shutting your vents actually creates air resistance issues which is a strain on your HVAC system.

Using Space Heaters Instead of A Home Heating System

And speaking of space heaters, it’s best to avoid those if possible.

While convenient, they’ve been under intense scrutiny for safety problems. In fact, according to a 2013 report from the National Fire Protection Association, space heaters alone were responsible for a staggering 80% of home fire deaths during winter.

They’re also responsible for 70% of all reported home injuries and damage during winter as well.

If you do have a space heater, never leave it next to flammable materials, and never leave it on when you’re not home.

Letting Heat Escape From Your Windows

Now this is a familiar, yet costly oversight.

Leaving your windows open with the thermostat cranked up is a waste of heat and money. Make sure to close all the windows in your home, even the ones in unused rooms, to deliver proportional heat throughout your home.

It’s also important to lock your windows as well to prevent any extra heat from seeping out. If your windows are old with cracks, you’re better off replacing your windows and adding air-tight locks to save money.

You can also roll up towels to stop heat from escaping from under your front door.

Not Taking Advantage of Daytime Sunlight

This may not immediately come to mind, but natural sunlight can help you save big on your home heating bill.

Try these tips for heating your home with sunlight:

  • Leave your curtains open during the day, letting natural sunlight in to warm up your home.
  • Make sure your south-facing curtains are open because that’s where the most sunshine floods in.
  • Replace your windows with heat-reflecting glass to absorb the most out of your natural sunlight.

Relying on an Old Furnace

Last but not least, it may be time to replace your furnace.

Old furnaces cause a myriad of issues for home heating systems. Take note of these warning signs and replace your furnace before winter hits:

  • Furnaces can last anywhere from 15 to 20 years max. If your furnace is nearing its expiration date, stay on the safe side and replace it.
  • As furnaces age, they naturally lose their effectiveness over time. Therefore, an old furnace can drive up your utility bill because it has to work overtime to heat your home.
  • Check your furnace’s burner flame. If the flame is yellow and not blue, that could indicate that harmful carbon monoxide is seeping into your home.
  • One of the tell-tale signs of an old furnace are strange, clunking noises.

Staying warm and cozy is the best part of winter, but it doesn’t have to be nearly as expensive as before. This time around, avoid making these common mistakes to save big on your home heating bill and keep your HVAC tuned up so it doesn’t fail when you need it most.

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