Heating: you might be doing it wrong

Some myths about heating.

Interesting myths are born when we use what looks like logic to determine efficiency. There are quite a few myths about how to heat your house efficiently (more than you might think). Let’s go over just a few to get us through this winter season. Unless you live in a cold climate. In which case the cold never ends (I’m sorry…).

#1 Closing vents conserves energy

The myth goes that if you close vents to unoccupied rooms, it will save energy. Heat won’t go to those rooms, so your furnace will only push out enough heat to warm occupied rooms. Your furnace uses less energy because it has fewer rooms to heat.

There’s just one problem. That doesn’t work.

Your furnace will push out enough hot air to fill the ductwork, regardless of closed vents. If a few vents are closed, more hot air will be directed to other rooms of the house. So, yes, occupied rooms stay warm, but your energy bill is the same. If you want to use less energy, just crank the heat down instead. Which brings us to —

#2 Space heaters are more efficient

Using a space heater to heat a cold room is more efficient than using central heating. Right? Well, the answer is a very confident: “It depends.”

If you’re using space heaters in multiple rooms on top of central heat, you’re going to be padding your heating bill nicely. AKA that’s a waste of money. The same remains true if you’re using space heaters in place of central heat. Gas furnaces use 43% of the energy space heaters use in heating whole houses.

Now, if you’re trying to use a space heater to supplement inadequate heating in one room, your bill will probably be all right. As a general rule, however, just use central heating. And maybe wear more layers. And grab a blanket.

#3 Cranking up the thermostat heats the house faster

There is a belief that if your house gets really cold, you can turn the thermostat to a much higher than necessary temperature to heat the room faster. This isn’t true. Your thermostat will need time to get to the temperature you want. Setting it higher doesn’t change that. In fact, it will only increase the furnace’s run time, which will waste more energy than normal.

These are just a few heating myths. This winter, let’s try to be more efficient correctly. Seal off air leaks, check insulation, and set the thermostat closer to the outside temperature. These are real energy saving ideas.

Be smart, and stay warm!

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