Emergency service needed? We're ready to help! Request Service


Winter Hacks to Stay Warm Without Cranking Up the Heat

A small white wooden house sculpture sitting on a table wrapped in a red scarf

As winter approaches, it’s essential to prepare for the chilly months ahead. Efficient home heating isn’t cranking up the furnace – it involves smart hacks and careful preparation. From insulating your home, and investing in draft stoppers, to scheduling regular furnace maintenance, each step can significantly impact your comfort and heating bills. This blog will delve into effective winter hacks to keep you warm without breaking the bank.

Why Avoid Cranking Up the Heat? 

Relying solely on cranking up your furnace for winter warmth isn’t the best choice for efficiency. Turning up the thermostat can lead to higher utility bills as your system works overtime, straining your budget. Additionally, excessive energy consumption has a significant environmental impact, contributing to increased carbon emissions. Thus, exploring energy-efficient heating options is not only beneficial for your wallet but also essential for our planet’s health.

Harness the Power of Insulation

Insulation plays a critical role in home efficiency. By creating a barrier between your home’s interior and the outdoors, it reduces heat exchange, helping to keep your home warm in winter and cool in summer. This lessens the load on your heating and cooling systems, lowering energy consumption, and consequently, your utility bills. Furthermore, insulation contributes to a more comfortable, consistent indoor climate year-round.

Seal Drafts and Gaps

Sealing drafts and gaps is a cost-effective way to increase your home’s thermal efficiency. Use weather-stripping for doors and windows, and caulk for cracks in walls and floors. Don’t forget outlets and switches on exterior walls. For larger gaps, consider using expandable spray foam insulation. This simple step can significantly reduce heat loss, keeping you warmer and reducing energy costs.

Upgrade Your Home’s Insulation

Upgrading your home’s insulation is a practical step towards energy efficiency. Consider insulating your attic, walls, and floors with high R-value materials, which provide better thermal resistance. Also, insulate ducts or pipes that pass through unheated spaces. Consult with a professional insulation service for optimal results.

Window Treatments

Window treatments like thermal curtains and insulated blinds can be a game-changer in retaining indoor heat during winter. They provide an additional layer of insulation, reducing heat loss through windows. By closing the curtains or blinds at night and opening them during sunny days, you can naturally regulate your home’s temperature.

Optimize Heating Systems

Optimizing heat systems can significantly reduce heating bills. An efficient system uses less energy while maintaining the same level of comfort. This not only lowers energy consumption but also reduces carbon footprint. Regular HVAC maintenance, timely upgrades, and smart thermostats can help in optimizing these systems. In the long run, the cost savings from lower heating bills often outweigh the initial investment in optimization.

Smart Thermostats

ecobee smart thermostat mounted on a wall set at 75 degrees

Smart thermostats with zoning allow for room-by-room customization and can significantly reduce heating bills in winter. They enable precise control over your home’s temperature, allowing you to heat only the rooms you’re using and at times when they are occupied. Some models even learn your schedule and adjust automatically and can sense occupancy to be more efficient. This avoids energy waste, resulting in lower heating costs. Also, most smart thermostats provide energy use data, helping homeowners identify further opportunities for efficiency.

Regular Maintenance is Key

Regular HVAC maintenance and filter changes are critical for the efficiency of HVAC systems. No one wants to have the heat not working in their home. Professionally maintained systems operate optimally, reducing energy consumption and saving costs. A clean filter improves air quality while ensuring your system doesn’t overwork, extending its lifespan. HVAC ducts should be cleaned to improve air quality by removing accumulated dust, allergens, and mold, enhance system efficiency by reducing airflow obstructions, and prolong the lifespan of your HVAC system. Simply put, regular HVAC upkeep is key to efficiency and longevity.

Utilize Natural Heat

Leveraging natural heat through more daily activities is an eco-friendly and cost-effective way to lower heating bills. Additionally, activities like cooking or showering also generate heat which can help warm up your home too. Using natural sources not only reduces reliance on artificial heating but also lowers energy consumption and costs.

Embrace Layering

Layering clothes is a simple yet effective way to stay warm and reduce heating costs. By wearing layers, you can maintain your body heat, reducing the need for high thermostat settings. This results in less energy consumption and lower heating bills. It’s an easy, cost-effective method to stay comfortable while saving energy.

Let the Sun In

Sunlight, a free and abundant source of heat, can be maximized by opening curtains on south-facing windows during the daytime. Close curtains or blinds at night to retain heat. Position furniture away from windows to avoid blocking sunlight, and consider thermal-backed curtains or thermal blinds to reduce heat loss. Insulating your home properly can help retain this heat longer.

Ceiling Fans for Even Heat Distribution

Ceiling fans can enhance heat distribution by circulating warm air that rises to the ceiling back down into the room. By setting your fan to spin clockwise at a low speed during winter, you push warm air downwards, creating an even temperature throughout your space. This strategy can reduce heating needs and lower energy costs.

Space Heating and Humidity: Zoning for Comfort

Zoning your home involves dividing it into separate areas or ‘zones’, each with its own thermostat control. This allows you to customize temperatures in different rooms, enhancing comfort and energy efficiency. For instance, unused rooms can be set at a lower temperature, while living areas can be kept warm, ensuring optimal comfort throughout your home.

Zone Heating with Space Heaters or Ductless Systems

To effectively regulate room temperatures, consider utilizing energy-efficient solutions such as ductless heating systems, which offer room-by-room zoning capabilities. If you do choose to use space heaters, place them strategically in high-traffic areas, ensuring they are turned off when not needed. Safety is paramount, so maintain a 3-foot clearance around the heater, never leave it unattended, and opt for models with automatic shut-off features. Lowering central heating and using these energy-efficient heaters can enhance savings. Always adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions for optimal results and safety.

Maintain Indoor Humidity

Maintaining optimal indoor humidity (around 30-50%) can enhance comfort and reduce heating costs. Dry air feels colder, leading to increased heater usage. By using a humidifier, putting a pot of boiling water on the stove, or natural methods like houseplants and bowls of water near heat sources, you can increase humidity, making the air feel warmer and reducing the need for excessive heating.

Energy-Efficient Upgrades

Upgrading to high-efficiency windows and furnaces can significantly reduce energy consumption and lower heating costs. Energy-efficient windows minimize heat loss, while efficient furnaces or heat pumps use less fuel for the same heat output. This saves money and reduces carbon footprint, contributing to environmental sustainability. These upgrades can also increase your home’s value.

How Jacobs Can Help

Maintaining comfort in your home without breaking the bank is crucial. For any aspect of your heating system, it’s essential to have a trusted company with expertise and understanding to assist you in making wise choices. Jacobs Heating & Air Conditioning experts are ready to support you in making decisions that can lead to significant savings on your yearly heating and cooling expenditures. Jacobs consultants will help troubleshoot problems to ensure you have a long-lasting furnace system that will keep you comfortable all winter long.

By scheduling routine tune-ups with our technicians before any issues arise, they can identify potential problems early on so they don’t have time to cause major damage later down the road. We offer maintenance plans designed for homeowners to keep your gas or electric furnace running without the hassle of downtime and cold. We’re always just a phone call away, no matter what you need.

About the Author

Amanda Jacobs portrait

Amanda Jacobs, Internal Project Manager

Amanda Jacobs is an Internal Projects Manager and 3rd generation member of Jacobs Heating & Air Conditioning. She received her MBA from Seattle University and has worked for a leading HVAC training and consulting firm. When not talking HVAC on the Jacobs Blog, you can find her on the golf course or whipping up her famous vegan chili.