Heating your home is essential for staying comfortable in Alberta’s often-cold climate, but running your furnace all winter can get expensive. Upgrading your home with a high-efficiency furnace is one of the best ways to stay comfortable in chilly weather while lowering your energy bills, but there are plenty of other ways to supplement your home heating as well.
Don’t worry; the team at Action Furnace is here to show you the most affordable ways to give your home heating a boost. Read on to learn all about the best ways to warm up your home that don’t involve furnaces.
Improve Your Insulation
Insulation helps keep heat inside your home, reducing the amount of energy your furnace needs to raise the temperature. This leads to lower heating costs and a more comfortable living environment. By adding insulation to your walls, attic, and floors, you can greatly mitigate heat loss and keep your home warmer during the cold months.
Insulation comes in various types, including fiberglass, cellulose, and spray foam. Different types of insulation have different R-values, which measure the insulation’s ability to resist heat flow. It is advisable to consult with a professional to determine the best type and R-value of insulation for your specific home and climate zone. Properly installed insulation can last for decades and pay for itself in energy savings over time.
Seal Air Leaks
Every home has a few spots where air is able to escape more easily—most commonly around windows, doors, skylights, and other exterior portals. Placing weather stripping and caulk around the edges of these features helps your home retain more heat, making your furnace more energy efficient and prolonging its lifespan.
Buy Draft Stoppers
These small, cylindrical devices can be placed at the base of doors and windows to prevent drafts from coming into a room. They can be filled with materials like sand, rice, or beans to add weight, and are typically made of fabric or other flexible materials to help them conform to whatever you place them against and fill gaps.
Draft stoppers aren’t as effective as caulking or weather stripping—but since they create a barrier that blocks the movement of cold air into rooms, they offer a simple, fast, and inexpensive way to reduce heat loss. They come in various sizes, materials, designs, allowing them to be decorative as well as practical.
Close Your Curtains
Approximately 25-30% of heat loss in a given home occurs through windows and doors, and this amount can go up even higher during Alberta’s particularly cold winter months. Heavy curtains provide an extra layer of insulation in front of windows, reducing the heat that leaks through them by up to 10-15%.
While they’re not as effective as replacing your windows with energy-efficient varieties, curtains are much less expensive—most energy-efficient windows start at around $200, whereas thick, decent-quality curtains can often be found for well under $50.
Use Space Heaters (Strategically)
It’s true that space heaters can contribute to higher electricity bills—but if you use them strategically, they can offset your furnace bills significantly, letting you stay warm while keeping your net utility costs down.
One of the most effective ways to use space heaters is called zone heating: place the space heater in the room or area of your home that you use the most, such as a living room or home office. This allows you to heat the areas where you spend the most time, while turning down the thermostat to keep the rest of the house at a lower temperature.
Avoid Peak Hours for Electrical Heaters
Electricity in Alberta costs more during peak hours (4:00 to 7:00pm). If you own an electric furnace or use electric space heaters, try adjusting your routine so that you’re heating your home outside of these hours. Wearing warmer clothes, drawing the curtains, or using draft stoppers to retain heat during these high-demand periods can allow you to stay warm until it’s cheaper to turn the heat on again.
Keep Your Furnace Professionally Maintained
Okay, we know we said this list didn’t involve furnaces—but if you want to make sure your home heating equipment isn’t unnecessarily expensive when you do run it, you’ll have to get it tuned-up regularly. We recommend calling us for a professional furnace inspection once a year, during which we’ll thoroughly examine your heating system for any problems that could be making it less efficient and perform routine maintenance tasks. These could include:
- Replacing old air filters
- Reprogramming thermostats
- Taking temperature readings
- Cleaning the combustion chamber (for gas furnaces)
- Cleaning the heating elements (for electric furnaces)
- Cleaning gas valves and pilot lights (for applicable units)
- Cleaning the blower and blower motor
- Sealing leaks in ductwork or lines
The amount of money you’ll save with regular furnace maintenance depends on the type of furnace you have, its age and condition, and your usage habits. However, most households can enjoy energy savings of 5–15% by scheduling these service calls annually.
Keep Comfort High & Home Heating Costs Low
While replacing your furnace with a new high-efficiency model or upgrading your windows are excellent ways to slash home heating costs, the ideas above make easy and affordable ways to see savings immediately. For more information on finding the most cost-effective solutions to heat your home, contact Action Furnace and let an experienced pro assist you.