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Do It Yourself Projects, Heating »

[16 Jan 2009 | 2 Comments | 2,605 views]

Cost: $8 and up
Estimated Effort: 10 minutes
Approximate Savings: 10% or more
If your furnace is located in an unheated area like an unfinished basement, you might already have guessed that a lot of heat can potentially be lost in the ducts themselves. Between the furnace itself and the vents, even with no holes in the ducts, some estimate that as much as 15 – 30% of the heat from your furnace can be lost when it travels through an unheated area like a basement.
That’s a lot of heat loss!
If …

Do It Yourself Projects, Heating »

[16 Jan 2009 | No Comment | 271 views]

Cost: $60 – $200
Estimated Effort: 30 minutes
Approximate Savings: 10% – 15% or more
Installing a “smart” thermostat is not hard at all, and typically takes less than 30 minutes to accomplish, even for novice users.
When buying your new thermostat, just remember – you get what you pay for. If you want more features, like the ability to program based on day, you will pay more. Likewise if you want an Energy Star model. My advice to get one that’s within your budget with features you need right now, but go …

Heating »

[16 Jan 2009 | No Comment | 161 views]

The filter takes out a lot of dander, hair, pollen, etc from the air as it is fed into the furnace.
If the filter is dirty, less air is fed into the heating system, which means…yep, you guessed it. The furnace has to work harder by staying on longer to heat the available air. And the longer it runs, the more it costs.
Some will advise you to change it every 60 or 90 days. I’d still recommend every 30 days, especially if you have pets or an older house …

Cooling, Heating, Home Energy Tips »

[16 Jan 2009 | No Comment | 87 views]

Basically, make sure the thermostat location isn’t too hot, or too drafty. The thermostat measures the temperature and locating it in either location can throw off the reading.
The effects can be disastrous for your utility bill.
The area might be warm, so the thermostat will be tricked into thinking the heat has done its job and turn it off. Actually, just the area where the thermostat is located is warm because it is directly over or very close to a heating vent.
The opposite is true as well. If …

Do It Yourself Projects, Heating »

[16 Jan 2009 | 2 Comments | 12,025 views]

The most common complaint in the cold winter months about older doors is they are drafty, or don’t insulate well anymore.  In fact, a door is usually one of the first places you tend to notice energy issues. The reason is because it is opened and closed and used so often. Add to this the fact that they are heavy and held up by only a few screws and hinges around a frame, and the potential for problems increases with age.
What can go wrong?
Even newer doors can have energy gaffes. …

Do It Yourself Projects, Heating »

[15 Jan 2009 | No Comment | 777 views]

One of the most challenging problems for homeowners is with the placement of a heat register, radiator or other heat source under or near a window. The problem is compounded with every degree the temperature plummets outside.
Understanding the problem
To figure out how to fix the problems, we have to understand what is going on. Warmed air always rises (and conversely cold air falls). Since warmed air will always rise from the heat source it will gravitate upwards. Under most circumstances, when a heat register is on a wall, the warmed …

Heating »

[14 Jan 2009 | No Comment | 283 views]

Here’s a little secret for those of you who may be looking for a home and are energy conscious. Newer, high efficiency furnaces do not have an exhaust pipe that rises vertically (up through the roof of the house). The exhaust is actually sent out usually through a PVC pipe at an angle towards a side of the house. It may rise up from there, but it never goes straight up from the furnace like older, inefficient units.

Heating »

[12 Jan 2009 | 2 Comments | 1,543 views]

There’s a few things to consider here. On the surface, and as a general rule, you should avoid turning up the thermostat. The reason is relatively simple – you will be pumping natural gas (or whatever your fuel) into a unit that consumes a relatively large amount of fuel to heat a large area. If you are in every room of your house, this is by far the most efficient solution.
But I’m going to assume that you are not in all the rooms of your house, at least at the …

Cooling, Heating »

[9 Jan 2009 | No Comment | 2,997 views]

Oh, what time savers these little guys are. The mailman delivers your mail through a slot in your door. No more walking out to the mailbox in the rain or snow or any other weather to get the mail.
There’s one problem.
Usually, these mail slots are very poorly insulated. Even if they are better insulated then most, there is a hole in your door where air can escape and cold air can be introduced.
And how can you ask to give up on one of the perks of being …

Do It Yourself Projects, Heating »

[9 Jan 2009 | No Comment | 4,768 views]

This one puzzles the heck out of me.
We’ve talked about how a lot of heat escapes through the windows. Heat vents blow heat into a room. Why then, would anyone place a heat vent directly under a window?
Argh!
A lot of heat will be wasted, and the room will always feel colder than it should.
Luckily, there is a very easy solution.
Go to your local home improvement store (like a Lowe’s or Home Depot) and get a clear heat deflector. They run $5 – $15. These have little magnets on …