From skiing and ice skating to snowmobile rides, fat-tire biking and so much more, there’s a lot to do during our Michigan winters. If only it didn’t get so darn cold sometimes.
When we come home, we expect to warm up quickly, especially for anyone who uses oilheat. And why not? The flame in a heating oil system burns hundreds of degrees hotter than in other energy systems.
But when temperatures dive into negative territory below zero and the wind chill makes you feel like you’re at the North Pole, people get worried about burning too much fuel. That’s when some will try not-so-clever things to save a little money on heat.
Look, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to save money on heating your home, but please do it in a smart way and never take chances with your safety.
With that in mind, here are a few tips.
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’ll just run up your electric bill instead. You’ll also vastly increase your chance of frozen pipes.
Space heaters also pose safety risks.
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 air flow, 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 it to energy-saving settings when the house is empty or everyone is asleep.
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 never set your thermostat below 60°.
Moving your thermostat setting too low is another way to raise your risk 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.
According to Energy.gov 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 turning your thermostat back 7°-10°F for eight hours a day from its normal setting.
If your heating system has not been keep you warm enough this winter, please explore current oilheating equipment rebate opportunities and then reach out to your heating oil service provider for advice.