The leaves are turning yellow, the temperature is beginning to drop, and, consequently, you start asking yourself the question – should I turn the heating on?
You should consider switching the heat on as soon as the indoor temperature drops to 64 F. In case, you live with children or the elderly, then the furnace should be turned on once the indoor temperature gets to 69.8 F.
Did you know that there are quite a few things that you have to do before the beginning of the heating season? Below we will be sharing a complete list of these important tasks and some tips that will help you delay putting the heat on.
How to Decide When to Turn Heat On?
Don’t let outdoor temperatures determine when you should turn your heat on. During fall it can be extremely tricky as one day you are wearing a winter coat and the other – it’s warm and sunny again.
The indoor temperature is what you should primarily take into consideration. It is recommended that you turn the heating on as soon as the temperature inside your house lowers to 64 F.
However, if there are seniors or children living in the house, then the heating can be turned on sooner. The same applies to periods when someone from the household is sick.
The World Health Organization recommends a minimum indoor temperature of 64.4 F. In case you have a senior or children – 69.8 F.
Bear in mind that if your house is properly insulated and has energy-efficient doors and windows, you might find yourself switching the heating on much later than the rest of your neighbors.
Things You Should Do Before Turning Your Heat On
If you want your HVAC to run smoothly and, ideally, not fail you during the heating season, there are a few things that you should check and do before switching the unit on.
- Change the filter
Ideally, you would want to change the filters regularly (at least, every 3 months). However, if you have pets or you tend to suffer from allergies a lot, then the filter should be changed even more often – up to once a month.
The beginning of the heating season is the perfect time to change the filter, so don’t forget to do that.
- Perform an annual tune-up
Ideally, you would want to invite a professional to check your HVAC system at least once a year.
The majority of people do that once the fall season starts. But the truth is that you can book an annual tune-up whenever your heart desires.
Simply make sure that your system is checked by a professional every year as maintenance not only helps ensure that your system is going to work properly, but also detect any potential problems that are still relatively cheap and easy to fix.
- Clean the ducts
Inspect the ducts for mold, debris, or any other kind of build-up. If everything is ok, then performing an annual cleaning is unnecessary.
In all the other cases, remove the grime and dust yourself or call a professional team for the job.
And don’t forget to inspect the vents as well. Exhaust and intake vents have to be clear from any leaves, nests, or rodents.
Remember that clean ducts help make sure that the air quality in your house is on point.
- Move your furniture
You may have been moving your furniture quite a lot throughout the year. Before turning the heating on, you have to make sure that no boxes, couches, and shelves are blocking the vents.
Otherwise, the obstacle is going to affect the system’s airflow and, as a result, its efficiency.
- Test the thermostat
To test an older model of a thermostat, turn it up a few weeks before the beginning of the heating season and see if your furnace gets switched on right after that.
In case the thermostat is battery-operated – replace them.
- Inspect the ductwork for cracks and leaks
A leaky duct loses a lot of heat while the air is still traveling through the system. According to Energy Star, around 20-30% of the air that moves through the system gets lost.
To avoid that, check all the ducts for cracks and pay extra attention to the places where the ducts connect.
- Seal any gaps around windows and doors
If your house has plenty of gaps, cracks, and holes, your furnace would have to work in full force, in order to keep the rooms nice and toasty. That also means higher energy bills.
So, taking care of any gaps beforehand will help you save a lot of nerves and money during the heating season.
- Learn how to increase humidity levels
As it starts to get colder, the humidity levels are going to drop.
Dry air can not only cause a wide range of health issues, but also damage your house (walls, hardwood floors, and window frames) and cause the build-up of static electricity.
Investing in a high-quality whole-house humidifier before the start of the heating season is a great idea.
- Check the carbon monoxide alarm
This tip is for the people who use natural gas to heat their place up. A carbon monoxide alarm will help make sure that there is no gas leak and if there ever is, the alarm is going to warn you about the danger.
The beginning of the heating season is the perfect time to change the batteries in this incredibly important device.
3 Reasons Why Your Heat Might Not Be Turning On
It got quite chilly inside your house and you have turned the heating on, but it doesn’t seem to do any difference. Why might that be?
- The first thing that you should do is check the thermostat. What temperature is the device set at? Try adjusting the setting and see if that helps.
- If the air has high humidity levels, it will feel warmer. But as soon as the temperatures drop, so does the humidity. That means that the same temperature will feel different in summer and in fall. You might be thinking that the air is quite cool, while in reality – it is still warm. In such a case, your heating system might not be switching on, simply because the thermostat hasn’t detected a temperature drop.
- Unfortunately, the number one reason why your furnace might not be working is the lack of maintenance. Your system may simply be dirty or there is a more serious technical issue. So, calling a team of professionals might be your best option.
How You Can Delay Putting the Heating On
Once you switch the heating unit on, two bad things are going to happen.
Firstly, starting from today and until the end of the heating season, your energy bills are going to skyrocket.
That will happen not only because of the central heating (after all, we do use the air conditioner in the summer) but also because we might be turning on the boiler and the tumbler dryer more often. And we are going to have more lights on for longer periods.
So, you should definitely prepare your wallet for this.
Secondly, during the colder season, we become much less environmentally efficient.
Whether your heating runs on natural gas or electricity – it doesn’t really matter. The negative ecological impact from all these houses is quite significant.
No wonder a lot of people would want to delay putting the heating on.
These tips will keep you warm for a few additional weeks
- Seal the gaps in your doors and windows.
You can also put a plastic film or bubble wrap over your windows or (if you have the budget) install storm windows as those are amazing at improving insulation.
When it comes to the doors, try installing new sweeps.
- Consider getting insulating blinds.
Triple shade cells are a great fit for the job.
- Get insulating curtains and drapes.
Practically all drapes made out of thick material will be effective at keeping your house warm and cozy.
- Cover the fireplace.
When you are not using the fireplace, cover it, so that the heat doesn’t escape from the chimney.
A magnetic vent cover, a draft stopper, and small doors can help you with that.
- Invest in a portable heating unit.
Of course, running space heaters all the time or trying to keep the whole house warm with the help of only portable units is ineffective and expensive.
But these little guys work well as a temporarily heating solution. And especially if you tend to spend the majority of your time in one room.
To Sum Up
One of the greatest dilemmas of fall is whether or not you should turn your heating on now or wait for a few more weeks.
We hope that this article has helped you make up your mind. In any case, before the beginning of the heating season, don’t forget to tick off everything that you need to do from the list mentioned above.
And if for any reason, you want to delay putting the heating on, now you know exactly what to do.