Your Guide to Heating Your Home This Winter: Fact vs. Myth

The days continue to get shorter, we’ve seen birds are flying south, and we’ve already experienced some pretty cold temperatures. Winter is here. That means your furnace is likely running around the clock to keep your house warm. But is it running efficiently? Fort Collins furnace maintenance services can provide the answer. A properly running furnace can save both energy and money, but many homeowners don’t know how to heat their houses properly. Here are some of the myths about heating your house this winter and what you can do to make it as safe and efficient as possible.

Myth: Turning off the Heat When No One Is Home Saves Money.

A lot of people think it’s better to turn off the heat if no one is home for long periods of time. After all, why would you spend money heating an empty house? However, in the long run, it’s actually cheaper and more energy efficient to keep the heater running. It takes much more energy to heat up a very cold house than it does to maintain it at a slightly warmer temperature. Turning the system off for hours at a time means it will have to work even harder when you turn it back on, which can shorten the lifespan of your furnace and increase your energy bill. If you’re going to be gone all day, lower the temperature a few degrees but leave the heater on. To find out more about how gas furnaces work, click here.

Myth: It’s Cheaper to Use a Fireplace Than a Furnace.

Today’s modern homes don’t have fireplaces that work as effectively as those in older homes. In fact, many fireplaces are used primarily to enhance the aesthetic of a room. A modern fireplace can definitely add heat, but it isn’t meant to heat the entire home. It’s more effective to keep your furnace running and use the fireplace to create a cozy atmosphere.

Myth: Ceiling Fans Should Only Run in the Summer.

Ceiling fans are helpful for cooling down in the summer, but they’re also a good option for helping airflow in the winter. Switch the fan blades so that they rotate in a clockwise pattern. Hot air naturally rises, so this will help circulate the hot air back down to the rest of the room. The cost of running a ceiling fan is minimal compared to the improved circulation of warm air throughout the house, reducing the amount of time the furnace needs to run.

Myth: Closing Vents Can Lower Your Heating Costs.

Here’s another idea that sounds good in theory: closing vents and registers to rooms that are rarely used. If you keep the door closed and close the vent, you won’t be paying to heat a room you never enter. However, most modern homes use forced air heating systems, which balance the pressure throughout the house. If one vent is blocked, it affects how the rest of the system spreads hot air. Closing one vent might mean that air has to work harder to get through the other vents, which can put more pressure on your furnace.

Myth: Setting Your Thermostat Higher Means It Will Heat up Faster.

It doesn’t matter if your house is set to 60 degrees or 75 degrees—furnaces still deliver heat at the same rate. A higher temperature doesn’t mean the furnace gets hotter faster; it simply runs for longer to reach the temperature. If you set the temperature incredibly high and hope it will get warmer faster, you’ll likely have to turn the temperature back down, which actually uses more energy. You also run the risk of setting the thermostat high and then forgetting to lower it, which can lead to a very high energy bill.

Myth: Running Space Heaters Is Cheaper Than Using Your Furnace.

The answer to this myth depends on your type of heater. Most furnaces run on natural gas, which is much less expensive to run than the electricity for a space heater. A space heater can help heat up the rooms where you spend most of your time, but in most cases, the units aren’t as efficient as a full-home furnace, which means you’ll likely be spending the same amount to heat a few rooms as you would to heat the entire house. Click here for more heating myths.

There are a lot of theories about the best way to heat your home. Stay away from these myths for the best results this winter. When in doubt, ask an HVAC professional for personalized recommendations on how to keep your home warm and energy efficient.