There are a variety of heating systems used in Alaska and a variety of efficiencies. In the winter your heating system is probably your biggest energy user, accounting for between 68% to 75% of your home’s energy usage.
- Use a programmable thermostat. Make sure your thermostat is reading correctly. Use a thermometer you know is accurate to check your thermostat. If your thermostat is reading incorrectly, have it repaired or replaced.
- Don’t touch it: Before bedtime turn down your thermostat for more energy savings. If you don’t want to wake up to a cold house, let a programmable thermostat turn the heat up an hour before you wake up.
- Don’t let heat escape: Weatherstrip and caulk your doors and windows. Check your home’s ducts. Leaking ductwork can be the source of up to 25 percent of heating and cooling costs. When you’re not using your fireplace, close the damper.
- Close them at night: Closing blinds and drapes at night will help keep the cold out and the warmth in. In cooler months be sure to open them in the morning so the warmth of the sun can help heat your home.
- Insulate your home properly: A large portion of your heat can be lost through your ceiling, walls, and floor. That means you’re paying for something you’re not keeping. Proper insulation will keep your home warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.
- Keep it clean: A furnace with a dirty filter or an inefficient boiler has to work harder to heat your home. Check filters at least twice during the heating season, and either clean or replace them. Also, check to see that heating vents are unobstructed so your system doesn’t overwork itself trying to get heat into your home.
- It’s a good idea to have your entire system checked every year by a qualified heating contractor. Consider the purchase of a new heating and cooling system if yours is 15 years or older.
- Wear the layered look: Consider wearing layers of clothing inside the house. It will keep your body heat in and you won’t need to turn up the thermostat.
Time to turn on the fans?
Fall and Winter may seem an unlikely time to think about using those ceiling fans but, in fact, when you turn on the heat, you should turn on the fans as well. Why? Because hot air rises. By switching the direction of your fan so that it pushes the warmer air near the ceiling downward, you’ll get that heated air where it’s most needed. Check your ceiling fans for a simple, small switch that reverses the blade’s direction. If the switch is at the top of the slot, press it downward. Now your fan will move warm air down from the ceiling and help keep you more comfortable this winter.