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Decorative Thermostat Cover and Other Costly HVAC Mistakes During the Holidays.

The holidays are upon us, and it’s time to decorate. Before you start stringing, hanging and taping things up, let’s consider some issues with respect to your home heating.

While thermostats may not be the first thing we think about when it comes to the holidays, they do deserve our attention. More accurately they deserve to be ignored. Like air vents, they tend to be unattractive, and there’s a temptation during the holidays to cover them with decorations or dress them up with a bow, antlers, or a red nose. Don’t. Thermostats need to be able to read the temperature in the room and covering them will heat them up and impede their ability to read the temperature correctly.

If you’re planning on moving things around to make room for guests, trees, and decorations you’ll want to consider how that’s going to affect the air flow and temperature of your home. We covered this issue in an article about air conditioning, and the same principles apply.

Furniture directly in front of air vents means you could be heating the back of a chair, the bottom of your sofa, or whatever object you placed in front of it. There are plastic pieces you can buy for your vents to help redirect the air and that might work as a temporary solution if you absolutely have to block vents. The easiest way, of course, is not to block them, even if it’s only for a few days. Remember, too, the return air ducts as they need to return air properly and blocking them can be bad for your system.

If your relatives are like mine, they pack for three months when they come for a weekend. They bring suitcases and bags and boxes filled with gifts for the kids piled up in the guest room. You can remind them gently not to block the vents, or you might consider making some room in the basement, attic, or closet to store the loot.

Clearly, vents aren’t the most attractive thing in the house, but covering them with drapes or furniture isn’t an efficient solution. Keep them clear and well dusted to let the air flow properly throughout the home.

When it comes to hiding gifts and holiday miracles, this article about hiding things in vents and duct work might be worth a read. Stashing items inside your ducts and behind vent covers will restrict the flow of air through the HVAC system. Repeated removal and reinstallation of vent covers to access hidden items could damage the fins of the vent covers and mechanisms, limiting airflow into the room. Blockages caused by these items will force your heating system to work harder to move air into your home, which will stress the HVAC equipment to the point of malfunction or breakdown.

If you have a tree in the house, remember to keep it from drying out and keep it away from heat sources. According to the National Fire Protection Association, one in five Christmas tree fires were the result of a tree being too close to a space heater, radiator, fireplace, vent, or other heat source. Keep your tree from drying out by watering it. The use of a humidifier will keep moisture in the air and slow down evaporation from the branches. It’s also good for your health.

There are plenty of good ways and ideas to decorate for the holidays and making sure that your HVAC system is working efficiently will make sure that everything goes well and everyone stays warm.


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