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If you are a Canadian born and raised, you might not even give the approach of winter a second thought.
After all, you know the ropes. Get your heating system serviced. Do a test run. Program the thermostat for winter savings. Get out the extra blankets. And when the temperature drops, switch over from air conditioning to heating.
But every year, an estimated 300,000 people become residents of Canada for the first time.
For these folks, and especially those who hail from traditionally more temperate climates, Canada’s often brutal winters can be sobering…and scary. They can also be budget-busting if you are new to extreme cold and don’t know how to manage the costs.
So, you newbie Canadians out there who are facing your first real winter season, this blog post is especially for you.
Identify Your Heating System
Here is an overview of the main heating systems to help you identify which kind you have:
- Heating boiler heats water until it transforms into steam that is then distributed throughout your space using a network of radiators
- Furnace One of the most popular heating systems. It can be powered by electricity, gas, propane, or oil
- Heat pump Moves warmer air inside and colder air outside (in summer, it reverses this process to cool your space)
- Gas fireplace Uses natural gas to emit heat on a room-by-room basis
- Radiant heater Uses a heat source (such as floor panels, wall panels, or overhead panels) to warm nearby people rather than air
Optimize Your Home for Heat Conservation
One reason why it can cost so much to heat a space is the lack of effective heat conservation.
For instance, there are some areas in your home where you absolutely want it to be warm and stay warm. But then there are other areas where keeping the space warm doesn’t actually provide comfort for anyone.
Examples of the spaces inside your home that you will likely always want to keep warm include the bathroom, bedrooms, kitchen, and living area.
Examples of some spaces that you probably don’t need to keep warm include the garage, closets, hallways, basement, and attic.
By closing off unused or lesser-used areas and ensuring heat is not delivered to these locations, you can reduce your heating bills, conserve energy, help the environment, and ensure that all available heat is put to good use—keeping you and your family warm.
Use Your Programmable Thermostat
Today, all but the oldest models of heaters include a programmable thermostat. When it comes to saving your hard-earned cash, the programmable thermostat is your steady, trustworthy sidekick.
Here are some tips to program your thermostat for maximum heat savings:
- Warm yourself first. By dressing warmly and insulating your body, you won’t have to spend as much on heating the space around you.
- Turn the heat down at night. When you are bundled up in blankets with a hot water bottle at your feet, you won’t need to have the heat blasting, so this is a great time to save a few bucks.
- Turn the heat down when the house is empty. If you have pets that stay home during the day, you can find creative ways to warm their space so you don’t have to spend a fortune to heat an entire empty house. You don’t have to turn the heat down drastically; otherwise, getting it back up to temperature will take longer and also cost you.
- Don’t ever turn the heat completely off. While this may seem like a smart idea to save money, if the temperature dips sharply while you are away from home and there is no heat, your water pipes may freeze and burst, causing costly repairs.
Other Heating Cost Control Helps
- Have your heating system serviced. By scheduling a qualified technician to come out to inspect and clean your heating system, make minor repairs, add lubrication and fluids as needed, do a calibration for temperature reliability, and make suggestions for greater system efficiency, you can avoid costly emergency repairs and midwinter breakdowns.
- Seal up cracks and openings. Weather stripping is inexpensive and can make a real difference by reducing cold drafts that seep in around poorly sealed windows and doors. The basement, attic, and crawl space are also common culprits that let in winter drafts.
- Check all heating vents. Be sure your heating vents are open, clean, and clear of debris, and free from obstructions in the form of furniture or furnishings (lamps, drapes, etc.).
- Use space heating solutions wisely. If you notice that your family tends to congregate in certain parts of the home during certain times of day, you may be able to get away with using space heaters, heating blankets, gas fireplaces, or other lower-cost heating options.
- Change out heating system filters at least every 30 days during the winter. Your air filters will contribute to the overall efficiency of energy use in your heating system. The cleaner your filter is, the less energy your system will need to use to evenly distribute heat throughout your home.
Contact Shipton’s Today
Here at Shipton’s Heating & Cooling, we work hard to ensure our clients spend as little on winter energy bills while staying warm and cozy all winter long. To schedule your heating system inspection and maintenance, call us at 905-549-4616 or visit us online.