Nominate a family in need to receive a free heating & cooling system. Nominate Today

Keep Your Home Warm in Winter: Tips for Cincinnati Homeowners

stay warm

Practically all homes in the Cincinnati area rely on a heating system to make the house warm in winter, such as a forced air heat unit or a boiler with hydronic heat. Using a central heating unit like a furnace, heat pump, or boiler can be expensive – the cost of natural gas and electricity continue to rise, forcing homeowners to spend more on heating bills throughout the heating season.

Rather than settle for a high heating bill, many homeowners choose to seek alternative solutions that save energy and save money while keeping the whole house warm in winter with less heat from their heaters. Fortunately, there are many ways to keep your house warm and reduce heating costs, such as using free heat from natural warmth, solutions that reduce heat loss and help your house hold warm air and heat inside and keep cold air outside, and simple methods like using a space heater, hot water bottle, or electric blanket.

Thomas & Galbraith Heating, Cooling & Plumbing provides advice for staying warm while lowering heating costs and energy bills this cold season. With these tips, you won’t have to worry about a cold room during cold weather, nor a high price for keeping the home warm.

Keep More Heat Inside – Warm Air In, Cold Air Out

Heat loss is a significant issue in many homes throughout Cincinnati and the United States. This problem drives up heating bills while making it difficult for families to stay warm. When heat loss takes place, hot air created by the heating system escapes from the residence while cool air from outside infiltrates the living space, further lowering the home’s temperature.

Common causes of heat loss include poor insulation levels and air leaks across the home. These openings create a path for the free flow of warm air to the outdoors and cold air to your rooms. When the heated air is lost through these leaks, your heater must generate more warm air so that you can keep your house warm – obviously, this uses more energy and increases the price of your heating bill.

Find and fix points of heat loss to keep home warm in winter. Your household will demand less heated air from your furnace or boiler, as the house is able to better retain the warm air it creates throughout the day.

  • According to the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), homes in the Cincinnati area require an R-value of 38 for attic insulation and loft insulation. Cincinnati sits in Climate Zone 4 while many surrounding areas are Climate Zone 5. Insulation levels should be 10 to 14 inches deep for R-38. If your attic insulation measures less, adding insulation can greatly reduce heat loss and help you save energy on home heating, while making a big difference in your ability to stay warm throughout the winter.
  • Leaks throughout a home should be sealed to limit heat loss and keep warm air inside the living space, saving money on heating and limiting the infiltration of cold air that disrupts warmth. Install weather stripping, add insulation, and caulk holes to seal air leaks. Target common points of heat loss such as the attic access, recessed can lights, window sills and window frames, doors, duct connections, and band joists underneath wood floors. For a quick winter season solution, hang blankets to block drafts coming from a leaky window frame or door.

Reclaim Hot Air

The home’s heating system is designed to provide enough heat for the square foot dimensions of the living area. Heat can escape through the ventilation system or the natural rising of warm air, which can make a big difference to your comfort on those winter cold nights. Here is how to reclaim your home’s heated air and put it back to use to keep the house warm in winter.

  • Equipment like a heat recovery ventilator will allow you to enjoy the ventilation your home needs without losing tons of hot air. This equipment will keep your house warm by pulling heat out of exhaust air before it exits the house. This heat energy is added to incoming cold air from the outdoors, essentially recycling the hot air generated by your heater.
  • Ceiling fans aren’t just for summer – use them during the winter to get warm air into your living spaces. Heated air naturally rises and circulation slows high up near the ceiling without a little help. Run the ceiling fan in a clockwise motion so that warm air is moved back downward to the spaces where people are. A ceiling fan helps you make more use of the warm air your heater makes, guiding it to where it is needed rather than leaving it to waste up high in the home.
  • The use of ceiling fans only helps with saving money when people are present to feel the effects – otherwise, you’re just wasting energy. Use the ceiling fan when a room is occupied and turn it off once everyone exits the space.

Keep Your House Warm in Winter with Solar Energy

The Sun is an excellent source of energy and free heat! When you know how to heat  your living areas and keep the house warm with solar energy, you can lower your energy bills and use your heater less during the day.

  • Window coverings should be opened during the day to allow direct sunlight in. South facing windows don’t see much direct sun all winter long, so you can keep these shades closed and focus on opening curtains and blinds in other rooms.
  • Once the sun goes down, close coverings over each window frame. Doing so will insulate the window and create a barrier between the home’s warm air and the cool glass, so no heat is lost on contact.
  • Make sure to remove any window coverings that were added to reflect heat in the summer and keep the home cool. Aluminum foil is commonly added to windows because it reflects the heat away from the home, so take aluminum foil down this time of year to better keep the house warm this winter.
  • Dark colors absorb more heat energy from sunlight versus light colors. If you decorate using dark paint colors and furnishings, your rooms may feel warmer throughout the day than rooms with light features.

Don’t Fall for Myths About Keeping the House Warm for Less

Over the years, lots of different tips have circulated, claiming to share methods for lowering your heating bill. However, not all of this advice is true, nor is it safe. If you want to keep your house warm for less money this winter, here’s the advice you need to follow:

  • Closing vents to unused rooms won’t save money on heating bills, even though many people claim it does. It’s important that all vents stay open so your HVAC system doesn’t become pressurized. Too much pressure can force warm air out of living areas and restrict airflow through the heater so that the system consumes more energy. Your HVAC unit can also be damaged by this practice, so leave vents open in unused rooms throughout your house.
  • Don’t shut the bathroom door or bedroom door just because the room is empty or not currently in use. You want to leave doors open so that warm air is able to flow throughout all the living areas without barriers and keep all spaces warm.
  • Use your programmable thermostat to ensure you keep your house warm this winter. Set schedules around your daily agenda so the home’s temperature always feels comfortable when you arrive and the rooms aren’t too cold after a long day away.
  • For extra heat while you sleep, fill a hot water bottle with hot water and place it at the foot of your bed at night. The hot water radiates heat to keep your feet warm, and your heater doesn’t have to produce more heat to keep you comfortable through the night. An electric heating pad or blanket can also add warmth to your bed without much expense.
  • Don’t add heat to your rooms by leaving the oven door open! Having the oven door open is very dangerous, as it could cause a fire or someone could get burned. A space heater is a much safer and efficient tool for adding heat to rooms.
  • Replace your furnace filter throughout the winter. If the furnace filter is clogged, airflow through the HVAC equipment is stifled and more energy will be consumed by the heater. Check the furnace filter monthly and replace it when needed.

Stay Warm on Cold Days in Cincinnati

Cold days in Cincinnati are just part of our winter season. There are numerous ways you can combat the cold without increasing the cost of your heating bill and upping the use of your heater. In addition to the tips above, Thomas & Galbraith offers heating repairs and maintenance services that improve the energy efficiency of your heating system – contact us today to request service.

Subscribe for Savings and Tips in Your Email!