Don’t Compromise Safety for Savings
When we come home, we expect to warm up quickly, especially for anyone who uses heating oil to heat their home. And why not? The flame in a heating oil system burns hundreds of degrees hotter than in other energy systems.
But when temperatures plunge into the single digits and the wind chill gets to below zero, people get worried about their heating fuel costs going up. That’s when some will try extra hard to save a little money on heat.
While there’s nothing wrong with wanting to save money on heating your home, you need to do it in a smart way and never take chances with your safety. Here are some common home heating mistakes—and how to avoid them.
Electric Space Heater Safety
It’s not a good idea to shut off your furnace or boiler (or turn their thermostat way down) and use electric space heaters to try to save on fuel. You may save a little bit on fuel, but you’ll run up your electric bill instead. You’ll also vastly increase your chance of frozen pipes.
Space heaters also pose safety risks. Here are tips for using them safely.
- Always turn space heaters off when you leave the room or go to sleep.
- Keep your space heater away from anything flammable
- Never plug a portable space heater into an extension cord or power strip. Extension cords and power strips have not been designed to handle the high flow of electric current needed for a space heater. Doing so can cause the heater to overheat or even catch on fire.
Leave Your Heating Vents Open
Another common mistake is closing the heating vents in seldom-used rooms. The belief is that this will conserve heat and save money but this is not recommended
Closing some vents disrupts normal airflow, causing an imbalance that will just make your furnace work harder. Closing vents can also raise the risk of frozen pipes, especially in rooms that tend to be on the cold side anyway.
It’s always better to keep the temperature at a comfortable level throughout your home and program your thermostat to energy-saving settings when the house is empty or everyone is asleep.
Don’t Turn the Thermostat Too Low
You can easily save energy in the winter by setting the thermostat to 68°F while you’re awake and setting it about 8°F lower while you’re asleep or away from home. But you should not set your thermostat below 60°.
Moving your thermostat setting too low is another way to raise your risk of frozen pipes. Water pipes near outside walls or in unheated spaces are especially prone to freeze-ups. The risk increases if cracks in your foundation allow cold air to enter.
How to Save with Energy-Efficient Temperature Settings
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the lower the interior temperature, the slower the heat loss. So, the longer your house remains at the lower temperature, the more energy you save because your house has lost less energy than it would have at the higher temperature.
The same concept applies to raising your thermostat setting in the summer — a higher temperature inside your home will slow heat gain into your house, saving you money on air conditioning costs.
The U.S. Energy Department concludes that you can save as much as 10% a year on heating and cooling by simply adjusting your thermostat 7°-10°F for eight hours a day from its normal setting.
If your oil furnace or oil boiler has not been keeping you warm enough, please explore current heating oil equipment rebates and then reach out to your heating oil service provider for advice.
Read more about a new boiler installation or a new furnace installation.