10 mistakes people make with heat
Even with a constant flow of information about energy efficiency, homeowners make major heating mistakes that end in higher electric bills and larger environmental footprints.
Here are 10 of those errors, with the cause and effect of each decision.
1. Maintaining a constant temperature
Cause: A persistent myth suggests that you can save energy by leaving the house at a comfortable 68 degrees (a widely recommended winter setting), even when you are sleeping or away at work.
The idea is that it takes more energy for the furnace to reach a comfortable temperature than to maintain that temperature.
Effect: You could miss out on significant potential energy savings by not using a programmable thermostat and adjusting the temperature overnight and during the workday.
Though the impacts of adjusting the thermostat vary based on your climate and other factors, studies show that knocking the temperature down by 10 degrees for eight hours per day can cut by 5 to 15 percent.
Sure, the furnace will cycle on for a longer period to return to the more comfortable temperature, but it will be far outweighed by hours of savings when it didn't have to work as hard.
2. Cranking up the temperature to warm up the house
Cause: You come home in the middle of the day to a cold house. You want to warm back up to 68 ASAP, so you crank the dial up to 78 to get the furnace working harder and faster.
Effect: No time is saved in reheating the house. Most furnaces pump out heat at the same rate no matter the temperature. They just cycle on for a longer period to reach a higher temperature.
The furnace will take the same amount of time to return to 68 degrees regardless of the thermostat setting. By cranking up the thermostat, you are likely to overheat the house past 68 degrees and waste energy. Just reset the thermostat to 68, make some hot chocolate, and wait.
3. Closing off vents in unused rooms
Cause: You don't want to waste energy heating rooms you aren't using.
Effect: Again, this just wastes energy and makes your furnace run inefficiently because it changes the air pressure in the whole system.way to save energy.