A winter storm is quickly approaching and you listen to the roar of the furnace as it works to heat your home. With every cold snap you count pennies burning away in your home's heating system. While an upgrade is in the future, right now in the hours before the storm, there's nothing you can do to save on heating. Or is there? Try these quick and free fixes for energy conservation.
Note the location of your vents and radiators. Do you have a large sofa backed against the baseboard? Is a throw rug covering your floor vent? If so, rearrange your furniture to allow for maximum heat circulation, and don't allow furniture to block or trap warm air from your vents and baseboards. Be mindful of "trapped corners" made by end tables and chairs which don't block vents but create a box around the vent, limiting the circulation of its heat.
Dust deters the full radiation of heat from radiators. When they're not hot from a recent furnace flare, wipe them clean. Make a point to dust them regularly or use the brush attachment of your vacuum to keep the dust from building up in the recesses of the pipes. Baseboard radiators have the same problem, so get out the duster or vacuum attachments and suck cash from your radiators.
There are various places that allow warm air to escape your home. In a quick sweep of the house, you can shut these trap doors. Close kitchen and bathroom vents and fans when they're not in use or invest in a magnetic cover for the vent. Fireplace dampers should also be closed when not in use. Infrequently used rooms, basement doors, and closet doors should be kept closed as well. There is no need to heat your coat closet, so keep the door closed and allow that warm air to go elsewhere. The same applies to your spare bedroom. The room will stay warm enough thanks to its heating element; keep the circulating warm air in the rooms that are used the most.
Provided you don't have drafty windows which are protected with heavy drapes, pull back your curtains during the afternoon sun. The invading sunlight not only will help to curb the winter doldrums which affect people during the shortest days of the year but it will also heat the room a few degrees. If privacy is a concern, invest in sheers which block the clear view but allow sunlight to pass through during the day.
Now that you've done a few fix-ups you can relax by the window and watch the snowfall knowing that your heating bill will soon fall as well.
Another tip that I read in a book was if you only have curtains on your window this will not be enough. What you need is a pelmet so that air does not go down and cool near the window and then come out to be reheated again.
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