Winter Is Almost Here: Is Your Home Ready?
In many places around the country, the fact that the seasons have changed, the storms are a-brewin’, and winter, in all its glory, is practically upon us, has become a reality that cannot be dismissed of very easily. With Hurricane Sandy barely behind us on the east coast of the U.S., rain showers all over the pacific northwest, it’s time to take a look at weather-proofing your home, in advance of the drastic temperature drop that awaits us all.
While furnaces, heat pumps, HVAC systems, and new boilers may not provide the most intriguing conversations for the vast majority of us not involved in the industry, without the heat and comfort that they provide us, we would not have a very happy time getting through the cold months of the year.
The U.S. Department of Energy has suggested that many people who own their own homes may spend nearly two thousand dollars a year on their energy bills, half of which can be accounted for by heating and air conditioning. With that in mind, it just makes sense to find an eco-friendly, energy-efficient solution to the problem of home heating, in order to help the planet, while simultaneously cutting down on the annual expense of the dreaded power bill.
How Boilers and Furnaces Work to Heat Your Home
Used to heat many homes, the furnace or traditional boiler tends to be run on electricity, while for those of us living in colder climates, a boiler run on oil may be a better choice. While storms involving high winds or severe weather may knock out power to the home, oil-based boilers and heating devices will continue to work through the power outage, keeping you warm and cozy indoors.
There is a difference in how the heat is transferred from the unit to the rooms of your home. Furnaces use a duct system, and push hot air through the system the same way cold air is forced into the house when the air conditioning is in operation. Boilers, on the other hand, create heat via gas or oil (fuels) that then heats up water that is circulated through the home via one system or another, including radiant floor heating units or radiators. Heating units may also be placed near the baseboard area of the home.
If you’ve got a boiler or furnace in your home that is decades old, then it may be time to upgrade your heating system with a new boiler, so that the unit might work in a more energy-efficient manner, saving you tons of money on your monthly bill, especially during winter. Boilers that have an Energy Star rating have been known to operate as much as twenty percent more efficiently than standard, older units.
Other ways that you can successfully and easily “winterize” your house, and improve the energy efficiency during the cold season include going over your windows and doors, to check on the status of the weather stripping and seals on all of them. If you’re heating a single room such as the family room or the kitchen, then consider closing doors to other rooms, especially the ones upstairs or rooms that feature windows to the outside where drafts may impact temperatures. Last, consider investing some money in a smart eco-friendly thermostat, which you can learn more about in this article.
For those in the audience located in England now reading this post, find a great heating solutions resource at www.help-link.co.uk, where they install and replace boilers specifically in the U.K.
[Photo Via: woodenergyusa]