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Weather science has come a long way since Galileo first unveiled the thermometer in the late 16th century.
But as sophisticated as today’s weather instruments have become, they are still no match for the surprises caused by the onset of climate change. One day might be relatively mild and comfortable, only to be followed by the shrieking howls of a snowy blizzard the next.
So it is wise to keep track of day-to-day weather patterns and also keep a few creative heating tricks up your sleeve during unpredictable winter weather!
We hope these creative heating ideas, gleaned from decades of serving our wonderful clients and learning from each other, will keep you toasty warm throughout these coldest months of the winter season!
Lay Down Fluffy Rugs
During the cold season, having to brave the icy floor beside your bed begins to look like a legitimate reason to not get up.
One easy way to feel warmer right away is to make sure your feet meet a warm and fluffy rug first thing in the morning. And there’s more than just a soft footfall as a benefit, too!
Many floors, especially old-style real wood floors, come complete with micro-cracks and leaks that let precious heat escape outside. As much as 10 percent of your heat can escape in this way. Laying down area rugs in winter ensures that all that toasty warmth you are paying for stays in your house to benefit you!
Pull the Curtains Tight
In the same way that rugs can keep warm air from making a run for it down through your floorboards, curtains can keep that same air from hightailing it outside via the small cracks in weather stripping or caulking around your windows.
Curtains just add another layer of warmth that is much-needed during winter, and the new breed of curtains often comes with a thermal lining that actually traps the heat inside.
If you have a particularly drafty door, you can also use a temporary curtain rod and install some inexpensive thermal-lined curtains (or even a shower liner) across the door to keep the warm air from escaping.
Of course, it goes without saying that if you luck out and winter sends a particularly sunny day your way, be sure to open those curtains to soak up the sun while it lasts!
Humidify – Every Chance You Get!
Adding humidity to the dry indoor air of the cold season can help the inside of your home feel a few degrees warmer without you having to crank the thermostat.
For this reason, you should humidify every chance you get using natural sources. Examples of natural sources of humidity include taking a shower or bath with the door open, boiling water on the stove for a while, and even using the “steam” setting while you iron!
You can also purchase a portable or whole home humidifier for exactly this purpose.
When you add humidity into the dry winter air, it also helps your immune system fight off cold and flu germs more effectively, and it protects wooden home furnishings from the danger of cracking due to extreme dryness.
Plug Up Your Fireplace When Not in Use
Your warm indoor air is a veteran escape artist. If it is not trying to sneak out through leaks and cracks around windows and doors, it is quietly exiting via floorboards or your chimney flue, where it then whooshes out through the leaks in your damper.
A flue plug helps your damper keep the warm air in. This inflatable device is inexpensive and can be found at most home goods stores. All you have to do is inflate it and put it in place. Removal is as simple as deflating it for storage.
Rearrange Your Furniture
Sometimes feeling warmer inside your house is as simple as moving a sofa!
If you have furniture or furnishings blocking your air registers or radiator pipes, that is where your heat is going as well. Your sofa might feel quite warm and toasty, but the rest of your household is shivering.
Here, not only will the physical activity of moving the furniture warm you up right away, but you can look forward to better flow of warm air through each room after you are done!
Embrace Your Clutter
In this age of decluttering mania, it seems odd to suggest clutter is good. But in the case of adding warmth to the rooms in your home, it really is good!
Every layer that you add to your walls, whether in the form of a framed poster, a wall mirror, a bookshelf, a hanging tapestry, or some other decorative accent, is another form of insulation that blocks the chill outside.
Reverse Those Ceiling Fans
Ceiling fans typically have a two-way switch: one direction is for summer use and the other direction is for winter use.
The winter setting pushes the rising warm air back down into the central area of each room to keep it warmer for longer, to the point where you literally can get twice your money’s worth for the heat you pay for.
Schedule Your Winter Furnace Tune-up
At about this time each year, your heating system has been working overtime to keep you warm and comfy.
If you didn’t have your winter tune-up this past fall, or you can’t remember the last time you had your furnace inspected and maintained, you could shave some valuable dollars and cents off the remaining months of heating bills by scheduling this inexpensive, money-saving service!
Give Us a Call
If there is one thing we love here at Shipton’s Heating & Cooling, it is helping our wonderful clients stay cozy and save money!
Give us a call at 905-549-4616!
When you buy a home, you are buying a permanent place to call your own. You are also buying a non-optional steep learning curve that covers everything you never realized you needed to know about taking care of your new pad!
One of the most confusing challenges all homeowners eventually have to tackle is the decision about whether to repair or replace a major appliance like an air conditioner or furnace.
An even more challenging dilemma comes when you have to decide whether to replace just your air conditioner, just your furnace, or both at the same time.
While it is true that the investment is more significant if you choose to replace both components at once, there are also additional savings to be had that you won’t get in any other way.
As we welcome in a whole new year and you begin planning your home maintenance budget for the 12 months yet ahead, we thought now would be a great time to explore the benefits of replacing your A/C and furnace systems together!
P.S. Read on to learn how you can save up to $3,000 if you replace both your air conditioner and furnace at the same time!
How to Know Your A/C or Furnace Is Ready to Retire
According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), a traditional air conditioning unit has about 10 years of useful life before it should be retired. Similarly, a traditional furnace system has about 15 years of useful life before it makes good financial sense to retire it.
Of course, here you face a gap of about five years, when your furnace may still be viable and your air conditioner is chomping at the bit to breathe its last. If this is the case, you will need to weigh the pros and cons of switching out your furnace early in the interests of other types of cost savings we will discuss next.
Reasons to Upgrade Your Whole System At Once
The first and most obvious savings opportunity that arises when you choose to replace your A/C and furnace system as a combo is energy-efficiency savings.
Air conditioner or heat pump. You can save up to 20 percent on cooling costs by replacing your current A/C unit with a new Energy Star-certified unit.
Furnace. You can save up to 15 percent on heating costs by replacing your current furnace with a new Energy Star-certified furnace.
Boiler. If you opt for a heating boiler rather than a furnace, you can still save up to 5 percent on heating costs.
Depending on the cost of energy in your province, these energy efficiency savings may or may not have the wow factor you’re looking for to convince you it’s worth it to upgrade your whole heating and cooling system at once.
But now, try these DOE statistics on for size: an estimated 50 percent of your annual energy budget goes to heating and cooling costs.
Here, the savings can really start to add up. According to the Financial Accountability Office of Ontario (FAO), annual homeowner energy expenses range from $1,194 to $3,678, with an average of $2,436.
Let’s say you decided to go without heating or air conditioning this year. Assuming your spending on energy is average, you could save up to $1,218 to spend elsewhere or save for the future!
Of course, no one wants to forego A/C and heating in Canada! So let’s look at a more realistic option. Instead, perhaps you decide to replace your 10-year-old air conditioner and furnace together, netting you an average estimated energy savings of 17.5 percent for the entire next year.
Again assuming your spending on energy is average, this would net you a potential savings of $426 over the following year. Not too shabby, right? That is almost $500 extra you would have to save, spend, or invest elsewhere!
Smart Reasons to Upgrade As a Combo
In addition to the potential energy savings described in the previous section here, plus the undeniable benefit of reducing your personal carbon footprint and helping conserve our planet’s disappearing natural resources, there are some other smart reasons to consider upgrading your A/C and heater as a combo.
Your A/C or furnace is oversized or undersized for your space.
Your repair bills are slowly but surely escalating for both units.
The noise level emanating from your heater and A/C unit is increasing.
Your units don’t have a programmable thermostat and can’t be retrofitted.
Your duct system is the old school “octopus” model and it is leaking air everywhere.
A new combo system would give you the chance to change energy sources and save.
You are ready to install indoor air quality components to stay healthier.
Each of these reasons translates to additional time and cost savings moving forward. You spend less on repairs, upgrade to the newest refrigerant and filtration options, stay healthier with cleaner indoor air, and delete the “emergency HVAC repairs” line item from your budget.
Save $3,000 on the Purchase of an A/C and Furnace Combo!
Right now, you can save up to $3,000 on the purchase of any qualifying A/C and furnace combo!
With your purchase, you also reap the increased energy savings described here and benefit from expert installation.
Contact us online, or give us a call at 905-549-4616 to reserve your combo. Happy New Year!
Keeping warm in winter will always require an extra investment in energy, just as it does in summer when you have to run the AC. But it doesn’t have to empty your bank account.
Here, we show you how to save up to $500 per year on winter heating costs.
What Influences Home Heating Costs?
Besides your personal preference for indoor warmth, a number of other factors can also influence how much you spend on winter heating costs versus what your friend or neighbor may spend.
The overall age and energy efficiency of your heating system
The type of heating system you use
The type of energy your heating system uses and the cost in your province
How well (or poorly) that heating system has been maintained
Whether or not you use a programmable thermostat
How (and how well) your home is insulated
Where your home falls on the spectrum of leaky versus airtight
Not all of these influences may be under your control. For example, if you live in an older home, it likely has multiple air leaks, some of which may be inaccessible or beyond the scope of your annual maintenance budget.
Also, if the cost of heating energy (electricity, gas, propane, oil, hot water) in your province is higher than it is in another province, you can’t really do anything about that.
Luckily, you can control the majority of the other major influences, and this is where you will want to focus to trim valuable dollars and pennies off your winter heating bills.
3 Ways to Reduce Home Heating Costs
Let’s take a look at the factors you can control to reduce what you spend on heating.
1. Your heating system, its age, energy efficiency, and maintenance
The type of heating system you use (ducted furnace, ductless heater, water/steam radiator, heat pump, heating boiler, space heater, wood/gas fireplace, etc.) can increase or decrease what you spend on heating each winter.
For general purposes, gas, electricity, and propane tend to fall in the middle of the spectrum cost-wise. Oil tends to be the most expensive in many areas throughout Canada, and hot water/steam and wood are often the least expensive.
How well maintained your heating system is can also have a measurable impact on energy use. An older heating system that is kept well maintained, free from dust and debris, with a clean filter and well-oiled components, can continue to deliver reasonably efficient operation for up to a decade or more.
However, the age of your unit will have the greatest impact on your energy costs—more than any other single factor mentioned here.
The U.S. Department of Energy states that any heat pump that has reached 10 years of age should be a candidate for replacement and any furnace or heating boiler that is 15 years or older should be replaced. Replacement can net you up to $200 per year savings on energy costs as follows:
Heat pump: 20 percent savings
Furnace: 15 percent savings
Heating boiler: 5 percent savings
To calculate what these savings can mean for you, add up your winter heating bills, divide by the total number of months, and then multiply by 0.2 (heat pump), 0.15 (furnace) or 0.05 (heating boiler). The result is your monthly heating cost savings.
2. Whether or not you use a programmable thermostat
Not every type of heating system permits the use of a programmable thermostat. If you have an older furnace, heat pump, or heating boiler that doesn’t currently have a programmable thermostat, it can be worth finding out whether you may be able to hook it up to an aftermarket programmable thermostat. This way you can automatically lower your indoor temperature at times when the heat doesn’t need to be as high, such as at night or when you’re out.
If your heating system can accommodate (or already has) a programmable thermostat, the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that you can save $180 per year or more just by programming it!
3. How well your heating system and home is insulated
Insulation can also play a major role in how well the energy you purchase to heat your home is actually retained within your walls and used for that purpose.
The more leaks and cracks your home develops, the more warm air escapes and the harder your heating system has to work to pump out more warm air.
Simple fixes such as weatherstripping around walls and doors, insulated pipes, and interior insulation can help keep more warm air in and reduce the strain on your heater.
The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that you can save $200 or more on heating and cooling just by sealing and insulating the “shell” (outer structure) of your home.
Give Us a Call
Right now during our end-of-year Golden Savings Event, you can save up to $1,000 on selected heating systems!
Give us a call at 905-549-4616 to find out more about how we can help you save money on energy costs in the new year!