Common Mistakes People Make When Heating Their Home

[fa icon="calendar"] November 12, 2015 / by Home Services Expert

home_heatingThey're called “mistakes” for a reason. We don't intend to make them. Like accidents, lapses in judgment become clear only in retrospect.

The heating repair experts at Experts In Your Home understand: When you're cold and especially when you're pressed for time and the benefit of contemplation, it's natural to make mistakes when heating your home.

Some of these mistakes are quite common; some are even logical from a certain point of view.

With the benefit of time and contemplation, allow us to point out the most common mistakes that people make to heat their home – so that you don't make them yourself this winter:

Common Mistake 1: Ignoring a Rotten Egg Smell.

Unless you find a stash of decorated Easter eggs from a long-ago egg hunt, this smell is cause for real concern because it mimics the odor of a gas leak. Ignoring this danger sign could be deadly: The smell could mean that there is a crack in the heat exchanger of your furnace that is sending harmful levels of carbon monoxide into your home. Take no chances, and don't make the mistake of trying to mask the smell with an air spray. Always vacate the area and call 911 immediately if you suspect a gas leak. Then call a heating repair expert at Experts In Your Home so that we can inspect your furnace – and maybe the rest of your home – and make the necessary repair.

Common Mistake 2: Neglecting Annual Furnace Maintenance.

This is one mistake that's especially simple to remedy: All you have to do is call Experts In Your Home and schedule your annual furnace tuneup to ensure that it continues to run cleanly and reliably and so that our technicians can tweak any minor glitches before they develop into major ones. Next to homeowners who neglect to check and replace their HVAC filter every month, postponing annual maintenance is one mistake Experts In Your Home encounters regularly – usually after a furnace has suffered its last “meltdown,” well before its time.

Common Mistake 3: Using Space Heaters to the Exclusion of Central Heat.

In general, a central heating system is less expensive – and far safer – to operate than running electric space heaters in several rooms throughout your home. The exception? On a frigid winter night, and in one small, well-insulated room, a space heater might help you save a few dollars. Just be sure to follow the safety measures we outlined in “Electrical safety tips when using space heaters.” They are involved in an astounding number of residential fires every year, mostly because of careless use.

Common mistake 4: Overestimating the Value of a Wood-Burning Fireplace.

Yes, a crackling fireplace projects unparalleled warmth, but its good looks belie a cold reality: about 90 percent of the warm air it generates goes right out the chimney while cold air from the open flue comes rushing inside. So instead of providing an ancillary heating source to your home, a fireplace can actually cost you money as your furnace runs longer to compensate for the actual heat LOSS. Many Experts customers are converting their wood-burning fireplaces to gas, motivated also by a desire to improve the quality of their indoor air. Fireplace smoke contains carcinogens, methane and carbon monoxide.

Common Mistake 5: Closing Vents in Unused or Under-Used Rooms.

Closing vents is a year-long urge for many homeowners; we addressed this issue in this blog post about vent efficiency. Similarly, closing some vents in the winter doesn't mean that your heating system will “send” more warm air to rooms with open vents. Your HVAC system and ducts have been sized to deliver a proportionate amount of warm air to every room in your home, and closing vents changes that delicate balance – creating air flow resistance problems that California's own Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory says could place undue stress on your heating system.

Common Mistake 6: Cranking the Thermostat Upon Returning to a Cold House.

Remember that thermostats don't work like the accelerator on your car. In other words, your furnace won't churn out heat any faster the higher you set the temperature; it only will take longer to reach that temperature. Furnaces pump out the same amount of heat, no matter what the temperature. So set your thermostat as you normally would and try to be patient. Try keeping warm in the meantime by heating up some hot chocolate. The only “mistake” you could possibly make with this diversion is failing to top your steaming mug with mini marshmallows.

Experts In Your Home has licensed heating repair professionals that can help you stay warm. Contact us to get a quote. 

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