When winter comes around the dreaded sound of your furnace kicking in and costing you money is something many of us experience. When temperatures get very cold it can even be difficult to keep your home warm with the heater running constantly. Unfortunately this can rack up some big bills. This often has people fighting to keep the home cold to save money.
This can often lead to people trying to heat their home with their kitchen ovens or using kerosene or propane heaters in a dangerous way.
The fact is your heater is the most efficient heat source in your home. In new homes they are so efficient that the gasses from heating can be vented through plastic pipe so you know all of the heat is being used for your home. This means a Gas Fireplace or Oven is not something you want to use because it will be wasting 20% or much more than your heater.
Now what is the safest heating level you can set your thermostat at to save money. Most sources will say that 68F is the proper setting for winter and this will still be chilly in many rooms of the home.
You have to remember that heating is controlled at the thermostat and the only temperature that matters is the temperature right around that thermostat. If you live in a multi level home or a ranch home then the more distant from that thermostat you are the colder it is likely to be.
HVAC Technicians do their best to load balance your heating system so the distant rooms are just as warm but in reality this doesn’t always help especially if the home gets a lot of wind which can lower the temperature of outside rooms.
Why are distant and outside walls of your home so important? because often plumbing lines for your water are placed in these outside walls. If the wall is colder than the rest of the home then the pipe inside it has a chance of bursting due to freezing.
As is normally suggested if you can you want to keep your home in the high 60’s whenever possible but at no time do you want that temperature to drop lower than 55F in the general areas of the home because you risk pipe bursts.
There are two considerations when setting the temperature of your home and the first is what is comfortable and safe for people and pets. You have to understand that if you are lowering the temperature in your home to save money there is a limit. Where I grew up my bedroom was actually over an unheated garage and it was much colder in that room than the rest of the house.
The next consideration is heating your home to make sure you don’t have problems with your plumbing. As a note if you ever lose power in your home you probably won’t lose water service so you want to crack your valves to let them drip and hopefully this will help to some extent however at some point it won’t and if you can you might want to turn off your main shutoff valve and then drain as much water out of your plumbing as you can. That is actually something I need to install a drain valve for the entire system which should go someplace right after the water meter shutoff.
So be safe out there and don’t think you can completely go without heat during the winter like you can on your air conditioning when you are out of the home. You need to keep the plumbing warm and you need to keep yourself warm.