How to Keep Your Thermostat Set Low and Room Temperature Up

programmable thermostatSetting your thermostat is a kind of task that is relatively easy to do. In fact, because it is so simple, most people overlook the importance of knowing how to control and manage it wisely. For those who don’t know, setting the thermostat low in certain instances will correspond to saving up to $100 per year.

The use of the thermostat is born out of the need of comfort. It is very important in winter and the cold seasons. However, setting it too high in most instances, especially during winter will result in higher energy bills. So the question we’d like to answer is how do you keep your thermostat set low in order to save on energy bills but at the same time keep the room temperature up? At first look, it seems contradictory, but it actually can be done.

Setting Your Thermostat: Helping You Save Money

By the mere action of thermostat installation, you are already saving on your energy bills. As a matter of fact, by merely turning it down by one degree will allow you to save about $70 or even more annually, and you’re also improving your home’s heat efficiency in the process.

Improving Heat Efficiency

Some homes have one thermostat for the entire living space while others have one in each room. The number of thermostats you have basically depends on the type of heating system you currently use. In order to set your thermostat, all you have to do is pick the ideal temperature you’re comfortable with. You just do it by turning a dial. There are also those types where the controls have up and down buttons, like a digital thermostat.

By common practice, the ideal room temperature for the home is about 18 degrees centigrade. There are times when it has to be higher like 20 for living spaces with older residents. Now in order to get the most out of your thermostat, you have to set it to the lowest possible comfortable temperature. Keep in mind that can increase, say for one degree, will add about $70 in your annual energy bills.

So if you do have only one thermostat at home, the timer will be usually found attached to the boiler system. But be reminded that some heating systems vary in their specs. The timer will provide you with options on programming the time you want your heater to turn one and off. If you want to have added convenience, you can purchase a separate programmable thermostat controller.

Tips on Keeping the Room Temperature Up

Sometimes, you don’t have to keep the thermostat up just to secure warmth inside, amidst the cold weather outside. There are instances when you can actually set it low and still maintain a warm temperature inside. For instance, if you have visitors and lots of people are crowding your living space one at the same time, you can confidently turn down the thermostat a few degrees. You can do this because the body heat from the people will allow the room to get warmer than usual.

thermostat managementAlso, be sure you cover all drafts and leaks in your home. They can be the exit the heat is looking for. Also, the drafts become the entry point of cold air coming from the outside. Seal them up and you can practically turn up the thermostat for a short period of time and then turn it down while maintaining an ideal room temperature.

Provided you’re using separate thermostats in every room, it is practical to zone your heating. What it means is that you can keep temperatures high in those rooms that you frequently go to or stay while turning the thermostats down or simply low in those rooms that you don’t really spend some significant time.

In the end, keeping your thermostat low doesn’t always mean you need to sacrifice on comfort and warmth. There are ways where you still can retain the ideal warmth you need inside but without really spending too much on energy bills by upping the thermostat every single time.

How To Protect Your Family From Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

oil leakIt’s getting cold and even if it’s autumn, you have to figure out the ways to get ready come winter time. Even if winter is not as lovely as the rest of the year, it is undoubtedly the most anticipated. That is because it is the time when we all have to dwell in our homes and do everything we can to stay warm.

For the most part, we rely on firing up our home heating oil systems, gas furnaces, fireplaces, and wood-burning stoves in order to provide utmost warmth and coziness inside. But not a lot of us understand that when it comes to using our heating systems that utilize fuel sources, we become a risk of inhaling carbon monoxide.

By definition, carbon monoxide is an invisible and odorless gas that is produced whenever fuel sources aren’t completely burned when used for home heating. Those fuel sources include natural gas, gasoline, propane, kerosene, and heating oil. Carbon monoxide is dangerous, and attesting to that is the fact that it is considered as one of the leading causes of death by poisoning. In the United States alone, about four hundred people die from it every year. Adding to that is four thousand Americans who are rushed to the hospital for the same reason. Also, there are about twenty thousand people who get sick because of it.

An appliance that uses combustion like heating tanks, furnaces, wood stoves, and hot water heater will produce carbon monoxide. And since you have at least one of those mentioned appliances in your home, it is also likely you’re exposed to carbon monoxide.

And because the gas is odorless and colorless, the likely scenario is that you are not even aware that you are already inhaling it, unless of course it’s too late. If you are experiencing from a heart disease, there is also a double risk of dying because of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Protecting Your Family

The good news though is that you can take the necessary steps in order to protect your family from poisoning. Here are some valuable tips to live by:

1. Be sure that your appliances are installed and vented properly. The best thing to do in order to guarantee installation is to call for professional help.

2. If you are using gas and wood burning appliances, you have to subject them to inspection regularly. The same goes for all your heating and ventilation systems, including chimneys and furnaces. The inspection must be regularly done in order to monitor if there is in fact carbon monoxide leaking in the living space. Also, it is recommended that you call in a qualified service technician to do the annual inspection and servicing.

3. Do not forget to inspect your home after enduring a heavy and big snow storm. If there is presence of snow in the exhaust stacks, fresh air intakes, and vents, make sure they are removed.

4. Finally, it is practical to purchase a carbon monoxide detector for your home. While there is no guarantee of safety, the detector is a pretty good precautionary measure. As mentioned earlier, carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless, but the detector will serve the purpose of detecting it for you.

What Are The Things You Shouldn’t Do?

heating tank leakIn order to protect your family from carbon monoxide poisoning, you also have to be reminded of things that you shouldn’t do. Here are some of them:

1. Do not use a gas range or oven for heating your home. Apart from the strong possibility of poisoning, these two aren’t designed for heating space.
2. Do not leave your car running in a closed garage. There have been many reported cases of people choking from carbon monoxide coming from the exhaust of a running engine.
3. Charcoal shouldn’t be burned indoors.
4. Unvented fuel-burning appliances must only be used outdoors.

It pays if you know the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. This way, you can prevent untimely injury or even death. Although most people wouldn’t know that they are already exposed, there are initial symptoms. Most of them are like when you’re having flu, but without the fever. These symptoms include:

• Fatigue
• Headache
• Nausea
• Shortness of breath
• Dizziness
• Headache

For high level of poisoning on the other hand, the severe symptoms include:

• Vomiting
• Mental confusion
• Lack or even total loss of muscular coordination
• Loss of consciousness
• Death

You have to be sure you are aware of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning. Although your heating systems and appliances at home are of great use, they still can be very dangerous when not properly installed and maintained. It will only require a little time and effort to know more about safety and precautionary measures.

What Does a Humidifier Do?

humidifier benefitsAs winter approaches, one thing that most people worry about is discomfort. Part of that is because of low humidity. So even if the house or building you’re in is nice and warm, if there is low humidity, it feels uncomfortable. The thing is a normal person will need a certain level of humidity in order to be comfortable. During winter time, indoor humidity becomes very low and because of that, there are certain “unwanted” effects like you skin drying out as well as mucous membranes. Likewise, low humidity projects that feeling that the air indoors is a lot colder than usual.

With dry air, nothing is really comfortable. As a matter of fact, the effect is not just towards people. The same will dry out the wood in the floors and walls inside the house. And when it does, the wood will shrink and create cracks and creaks.

But the good news is that there is the humidifier. It is a device used in order to make things a lot more comfortable inside during the winter season. It works by adding that much needed moisture to a rather dry air.

Concept of Relative Humidity

The relative humidity of air carries a great effect on the level of comfort a person feels once indoors. Humidity by definition is the amount of moisture present in the air. For instance, if you are standing in the bathroom right after taking a hot shower, you will see that there is steam hanging in the air. It is an indication that there is high level of humidity in that space or area. Low humidity meanwhile is more like the experience you get when you are stuck in the hot desert that hasn’t had rain for more than a month.

Air meanwhile carries a specific amount of water vapor. The said amount of water vapor any mass of air can hold will depend on the temperature of the air. This means that the warmer the air is, the more water it will hold. Hence, a low relative humidity corresponds to the fact that the air is dry and will be able to hold more moisture at that particular temperature.

Relative humidity serves a very crucial purpose in determining the level of comfort. So if relative humidity is a hundred percent, what it means is that the water will not evaporate mainly because the air is already soaked with moisture. The human body will depend on the evaporation of moisture for the skin to cool down. The lower the relative humidity is the more convenient it is for moisture to evaporate from the skin, and we will feel cooler in the process.

What a Humidifier Does

The idea of adding a humidifier at home is valuable especially during the winter months. In fact, there are lots of benefits that come with it. If you are residing in a dry climate or if you experience a cold and very dry winter season, you will most likely suffer from the effects of dry air. During winter months, you may experience a humidity level of less than 15%. Keep in mind that the ideal level should be at 30%. With a humidifier, you get the following benefits:

1 – Prevention of Illness

Because of ideal humidity indoors, the small hairs in your nose will perform their function of filtering bacteria and removing viruses, in the process preventing the likelihood of flu and colds. If the air is dry though, you will experience bloody nose and may get more prone to flu and other viruses.

2 – Protect Things

As mentioned earlier, furniture, walls, and floors made of wood will be substantially affected by little to no moisture in the air. They will eventually creak, crack, or split. But with a humidifier at home, you are going to preserve and extend the life of your things made out of wood.

3 – Cure Illnesses

humidifierIf you are suffering from flu or colds, it will worsen if the air is too dry. But as soon as the air is moistened using a humidifier, the symptoms of irritation in the nasal passages, cold, and flu are soothed. You also get to breathe easier.

4 – Skin Moisturizer

You are most likely going to use heating equipment in order to produce heat indoors during the harsh and cold winter. However, it may cause your skin to be tight ad dry, resulting to annoying itchiness. Your lips will also chap more often. With a humidifier in hand, your skin will be moisturized and prevent from drying.

In the end, the benefits of a humidifier go without saying. The device is basically classified as a tool to balance the air and make everyone comfortable. The idea of monitoring the moisture level at home is therefore considered a regular part of your readiness for winter.

What To Do In A Power Outage

no powerThe good thing in the U.S. is that whenever there is a power outage or interruption, it will most likely be over as it begins. However, it doesn’t mean it happens all the time. There are instances when a power outage will even reach more than a day. In fact, there are instances when it takes about a week before power turns on again.

There are several causes of power outage. The list includes but not limited to high winds, sleet storms, and freezing rains. They all can inflict significant damage to the power lines and other equipment providing power to your home. Likewise, there are unique causes like heat waves and cold snaps. While they don’t do damage physically, they can actually do more harm by overloading the power system.

One of the heaviest burdens in a power outage is you are left without the luxury to use your air conditioning and heating system. There are times when you can’t even get access to running water. Other than that, there are so many inconveniences brought by a power outage, but it doesn’t mean you just lay it all out and be part of the entire breakdown.

When it happens, you need to be prepared for it. The idea is you are responsible in protecting your family and your home while power is off. By doing the right preparation, you will significantly lessen the impact of the power outage.

For one, you need to find out what needs to be done before, during, and finally after a power outage has taken place. Also, it is recommended to make a family emergency plan. This is where you delegate responsibilities to every member of the family. It contains the things they have to do and the places they need to go if there is an emergency situation during power interruption.

An emergency kit will also be very helpful. The kit should have at least the basic things your family needs in order to be self-sufficient for the first 48 or 72 hours of the power outage. Planning ahead is very crucial. Part of that is to know the risks that are specific to your area or city. By knowing the common risks, you have the ability to be more prepared in the process.

power outageIn some states where there are frequent power outages, most residents want to be practical by installing and using non-electric heating systems for the winter, as well as standby stove. It is sensible if you do so especially when it is winter. Winter in the U.S. is very harsh and punishing and without sufficient heating units, one can literally die in the cold. There are heating systems that do not depend on electric motor and you have to seriously contemplate on having one.

Now if you happen to have a fireplace that uses traditional wood burning, make sure the chimney is cleaned right before winter comes. This is to guarantee the fireplace will provide the warmth during winter and during a power outage.

Other Important Power Outage Reminders

Don’t forget to determine if the power outage is limited to your home, your neighborhood, or the entire city. If it happens that the neighbor’s lights are on, it means there might be a problem with your fuse box or the entire circuit breaker. If not, it may be the service wires leading to the home. And if the neighbor’s power is also out, what you need to do is call your electrical service provider.

Finally, you need to turn off all appliances, electronic devices, tools, and the heating system thermostat. This is to prevent likely damage caused by a power surge when the power suddenly comes back and is restored. It is also a lot easier for the power company to restore the power if there is no heavy load on the entire electrical system.

Eight Ways to Lower your Pennsylvania Heating Oil Bills

lowering your heating billsThey’re saying that with the ongoing drop of natural gas prices, it is better for us to switch from heating oil to natural gas to cater our home heating needs. It may seem like a practical and very sensible idea. However, one has to consider the expense of switching. There is actually a lot of money involved if you plan to do so.

Therefore, it’s really a more practical approach if you find ways to lower your heating oil bills, especially if you are living in Pennsylvania, where the winter seasons demands a great deal of heating for you in order to survive and live a rather comfortable life for the entire season.

Yes, there are so many different ways for you to lower your energy bills and you don’t have to sacrifice the warmth and coziness you deserve come winter time. The good news is that we’re giving you eight of those simple yet very valuable ways:

1 – Heating System Tune-Up

Right before winter comes, you need to get a heating system tune-up. You might be leaning against it since you don’t feel there is a need to. But do remember this: with a tune-up of your heating equipment, what you are getting in return is maximum performance out of every drop of heating oil delivered to you. Efficiency in burning means lesser use of oil.

2 – Open Those Shades and Drapes

Unless you’re a vampire, you would want to open those drapes and shades in order to let the sunshine in. The sun is the original source of heat. Why not utilize that? By opening up, you are helping your home get warmed up right before the cold night starts. As soon as the sun goes down, close them so that you prevent heat loss because of drafty windows.

3 – Turn down the Thermostat

There are two instances when you can turn down the thermostat to reduce heating costs. One is during the night and the other is when you’re not home. If you can sacrifice a bit, you can even lower your thermostat perhaps for a single degree. Doing so will actually allow you to save up to two percent on your heating bill in annual terms.

4 – Pipes Insulation

There are two good reasons why you need to do this. For one, you’re going to be preventing the likelihood of heat loss. Secondly, you are also preventing your pipeline from freezing during the winter.

5 – Get Rid of Gaps

Heat loss is one of the primary reasons why you’re burning too much heating oil. It is mainly caused by gaps in between your door and threshold. What you therefore need to do is stop heat loss by getting rid of those gaps. To do so, you have to use a seal that can be placed at the bottom of the door. It has to brush up against the threshold to effectively fill the gap.

heating oil bills6 – Close Any Unused Space

There are spaces and holes in your home that can also contribute to heat loss. If they are not in use, you have to close them. The list includes your kitchen vent, closet doors, air conditioning units and vents, and your fireplace dampers.

7 – Don’t Put Furniture In Front of Heating Radiators

This is something that a lot of homeowners miss out. Never intend to put furniture in front of the radiators because if you do, it will block the heat from being distributed or circulated evenly.

8 – Replace Old Systems

If you have been using the same heating system for more than twenty years, then you have to seriously look into replacing it. Aside from the fact that very old ones tend to become inefficient, the modern types of heating equipment will cut heating costs by up to twenty five percent, which basically means lowering your heating oil bills for a very long and sustainable period of time.