Many New Englanders have their own special fishing spot, their preferred way to order at Dunkin’, and their own unique home heating tip to battle the harsh winters of Vermont. But just like that time you went to your neighbor Andrea’s fishing spot and didn’t catch a single trout, some of these “insider tips” aren’t the big payoff they promise to be.
If you are looking to save on your heating bills this winter, here are the top heating myths that, surprisingly, will keep your winter energy costs higher than the snow on grandma’s roof back in the snowstorm of January of 2010.
Myth 1: Use Space Heaters in Hard to Reach Rooms
When there is one area of your home that seems to be just a little chillier than the rest, it can be tempting to spend $10 at a nearby thrift store to pick up a dusty space heater. We often get asked, “Are space heaters efficient?” Unfortunately, even when used sparingly, a space heater is dangerous and inefficient.
Both electric and fuel-based space heaters can pose a fire risk, and should never be left unattended. Plus, with combustion space heaters, you risk carbon monoxide exposure. Relying on space heaters in your home indicates there may be an underlying issue with your home’s performance, like air holes and gaps in the construction of your home or a lack of insulation. Space heaters are a band-aid fix to the problem, and will cost you more money in the long run.
Myth 2: Fireplaces Are Energy Efficient
A crackly, warm fire could be considered the mascot of cozy home comfort — but unfortunately, a wood fire can cause a lot of problems in the long term. Because wood fireplaces require oxygen to keep the flames crackling, some fireplaces can actually increase the indoor drafts in your home, and can introduce fine particulate matter into the air you breathe. And in the case of gas fireplaces, the burning of fossil fuel will increase your carbon footprint.
In short, fireplaces may tug at our heartstrings but there are safer, more efficient, environmentally friendly home heating options out there — like heat pumps.
Myth 3: Crank Up That Thermostat!
The thermostat of most homes is like the command center for home comfort. So if you’re feeling cold this winter, who could blame you for continuing to crank up the winter thermostat setting? The question is, what if the temperature reading on your thermostat doesn’t match the actual temperature you’re feeling indoors?
Regular trips to the thermostat, just to keep up with the winter chill, is a sure-fire indicator there is something going wrong with the many systems that make up your overall home performance. The best way to locate these issues is with a professional energy audit, from a trusted home performance contractor like EnergySmart of Vermont.
Myth 4: You Can Save Money by Closing Unused Vents
Perhaps you have a guest room or an office that doesn’t see much use over the wintertime. Closing the air vents in these unused rooms is a common mistake many homeowners make when they think it will save them on their heating costs during the cold months.
If your home has a central HVAC system, it is designed to distribute conditioned air in a house using both a blower fan and pressure differentials. Closing vents increases the pressure on your blower fan, negatively affecting performance and increasing any existing air leakage in your ductwork. If your current heating system is not meeting your heating needs, EnergySmart of Vermont can help you determine if your furnace is properly sized for the square footage of your home.
Get “EnergySmart” with Your Vermont Home’s Heating
You work hard all year long to keep your home as comfortable as possible for you and your family. When you partner with EnergySmart of Vermont, we can help you work smart, too! Our team of home performance professionals can help you save energy, reduce your heating costs, prevent ice dams, and battle the New England winter with ease. It all starts with an energy audit!