How to Help Your Furnace This Winter



For most of us, whenever we feel even the slightest tinge of temperature discomfort, like automatons we seem pre-programmed to reach for the thermostat and dial-in quick relief. This shouldn’t be our default tactic in warding off the winter chills. There are easier and cheaper means of keeping cozy, rather than throttling the furnace, while Jack Frost is up to his dastardly deeds.

In terms of winter home comfort, a furnace is the go-to weapon in your arsenal for warmth, preventing your house from becoming an igloo. It’s a work horse, for sure, a regular beast of burden - but it’s not indestructible. Running a furnace at full-blast for extended periods of time can cause undue strain, needless wear-and-tear, and unwarranted inefficiency. In other words, you should be conscious of “helping” your furnace by supplementing heat through additional means - you can increase its longevity, augment its efficiency and cut your energy costs all the while. Here are a few easy methods to stay comfy that won’t totally disrupt your lifestyle.

Seal the Deal - Frigid air creeps and seeps into your home through countless channels. By sealing-off cracks and crevices, you can substantially minimize importing cold air from outdoors. Start off by simply closing the drapes. Then kick it up a notch by caulking cracks near window and door frames. And for good measure, throw up some plastic insulation wrap over your windows if you’re really feeling frisky.

Space (Heater) Odyssey - If you gravitate toward one room in the house for most of the day it would make sense to incorporate a space heater. You can lower the thermostat for the house overall, and by maintaining a space heater in your favorite room you can keep the surrounding space comfortable. However, don’t leave the space heater running when you exit the room, and don’t park it too close to furniture.

Insulation Regulation - While attics and basements are good for cobwebs and storage, they are also excellent at bypassing intemperate air to the main living spaces. This is where some good ol’ insulation can work wonders, forming a blockade against unwanted air leeching its way into the primary quarters.

Get with the Program(mable) - Programmable thermostats are a savvy way to avoid wasting money and energy when you’re not around (or perhaps asleep) to enjoy the higher temps. While away at work or on vacation, simply program the thermostat to a lower temperature, and/or tailor it according to your sleeping habits. These investments quickly pay for themselves in the form of winnowing energy expenditures. But bear in mind that if you’ve invested in the programmable option then make it a point to program it! There are legions of consumers who have purchased the programmable models only to use them in the same fashion as the older manual thermostats - if it’s cold they dial the heat up; if it’s too warm it gets turned down a notch. This process prevents homeowners from actualizing the potential savings that programmable thermostats can produce.

24/7 Ugly Sweater Party - There’s no rule that says you have to dress like Jimmy Buffett in the privacy of your own home - instead of shorts and flip-flops during the middle of February in Michigan, put on a sweater and some nice wool socks. Don’t be afraid to layer-up. The warmer your clothes are, the less inclined you’ll be to notice every tiny fluctuation in temperature. Even keeping the thermostat lower by just a few degrees can save serious cash over the long haul.

So, give your furnace a break this winter - your wallet will thank you.

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