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Posts Tagged ‘HVAC’

Emergency Heat: The 411 on 911 Heating

Emergency Heat: What Is the Deal?

Emergency heat is basically a secondary source of heating. It is used in heating systems when the unit detects the temperature as being too low to be powered by the primary unit alone. Most heating systems use electricity, gas, hot water and oil to run. More often than not, the primary and secondary heating methods work together to warm your home effectively in the winter months.

 

Usually, the homeowner can just let the unit do its own thing due to the automatic switch setting on your heating device (you should check whether your own unit is automatic or manual), yet you may be still questioning whether or not you should change the heat settings on your system in extreme cold conditions or use emergency heat when your house is taking a while to heat up. We’ve broken down emergency heat and the things you should and should not be doing below.

 

When Should I Be Using Emergency Heat?

Many homeowners make the huge mistake of altering the setting of their emergency heating as soon as winter hits. Don’t ever do this as if you do, you are wasting your time and money. Your primary heating source can take care of the job perfectly fine and will use the secondary source if and when necessary. So, the question we all want answering is: when should I interfere with my emergency heating? The answer is simple: if and when an actual emergency happens. These emergencies may include: when the bad weather conditions (such as bad storms) have broken your primary heat source and/or when your heating device becomes faulty due to other reasons.

 

The bottom line of emergency heat? Only use it in an emergency!

 

If you’re wondering why emergency heat should be simply turned on whenever you want, we have listed some reasons:

 

  1. Emergency heat can work out extremely expensive

As stated above, emergency heat is not meant for long term use, therefore if you use it occasionally throughout the year, you won’t see a huge increase in your heating bill. However, if you run emergency heat non-stop, you’ll definitely see a rise in your heating bills. Use your emergency heat wisely to avoid a shock.

 

  1. You’re wasting your time

If you’ve been told for years that you ought to switch on the emergency heat as soon as the cold temperatures comes and you’ve never felt the need to question it, you’ve slipped into bad and misunderstood habits. Break those habits now, stop wasting your time and money and stop using your emergency heat unnecessarily.

 

  1. There could be other underlying issues you need to be concentrating on first

If you’re using your emergency heat in situations where it should be used, there is no issue. However, if every single year you seem to run into an issue, the chances are that there could be an underlying issue that needs to be fixed. The best thing to do in this situation would be to get in contact with a professional and ask them to run a health check on your entire heating system. Eliminate any problems and start over with your heating system.

 

How to Stay Warm Without Using Emergency Heating

Now you’ve established when to use and when not to use your emergency heat, you may be wondering how you’re meant to keep your home warm and toasty enough in the winter without running to your thermostat and switching on the emergency heat setting. Here are our top tips to keep warm throughout the winter:

 

  • Place draught excluders by gaps between doors and floors – this will prevent any icy cold air blowing into your home.
  • Buy a hot water bottle – nothing beats snuggling up to a hot water bottle, just be sure to wrap it up in a cover so that it doesn’t burn you!
  • Wear a thick jumper and invest in some fleece blankets.
  • Buy some proper loft insulation – decent loft insulation dramatically increases the heat in your home and ultimately brings your heating bills right down.
  • Check your windows – old windows may not be suitable for keeping warm air in and cold air out. For a longer term solution, consider double glazed or triple glazed windows.

 

The above are only a couple of ways in which you may consider keeping your home warm and cozy throughout the winter. There are various other inventive ways that you can keep your own home toasty.

 

Is It OK to Use Primary Heating Throughout Winter?

The winter months can be particularly difficult to get through, so it can be tempting to whack your thermostat right up, plus the emergency heat setting. We’ve already established when to not put the emergency heat on, so the question remaining is: can I leave my regular heating on throughout the whole of winter? The answer to this is yes and no.

 

While primary heating sources and units are not as energy consuming as emergency heat, it is still not advisable to leave your heating on constantly as this is wasteful money wise and efficiency wise. If you live in an area that suffers rather chilly cold spells, you’d be best off putting your thermostat on a timer (for example, having it start one hour before you wake up or arrive home from work so that your home is warm enough for you without the need to keep your heating on all the time) and by purchasing various other heating and heat saving methods that will work with your primary heating unit (such as insulation and excluders).

 

Whatever you do, never leave ANY heating unit or setting on 24/7, whether it be the primary or secondary heat source. Leaving heating units on full power constantly is harmful to the environment, bad for your bank balance, encourages bad habits and could be potentially dangerous.

 

Other Winter Tips

As well as keeping your eye on your heating units this winter, you should also do the following:

 

  • Invest in decent flooring (i.e carpeting)
  • Check your loft insulation and get a professional to fix and patch up any holes.
  • Close your curtains – this will prevent some cold air blowing in and warm air escaping.
  • Search your house for cracks and holes where cold ir can get in and warm air can get out – make sure you check areas you do not go in often, such as the garage and loft. Even if you do not use these rooms, they will contribute to the overall temperature of your home.
  • Have your heating unit and thermostat serviced by a professional before winter starts – this will eliminate any issues before they occur. By having your heater serviced before winter starts, you’ll probably get it seen to and any issues fixed quicker because you’ll have missed the winter rush of customers who have forgotten to check their appliances earlier.
  • Buy some slippers, cardigans and sweaters!
  • Get into the habit of closing doors and creating small spaces that will heat up quickly and efficiently.

 

 

It may be difficult to find the balance between a freezing cold home and a boiling hot one. Nonetheless, with dedication and planning, you’ll soon be able to figure out which methods work throughout your home every winter. By keeping up good practices, you’ll soon be keeping your home at the optimum temperature for you and your family, and surprisingly you’ll be saving yourself money and time by not switching on the emergency heat carelessly.

 

Don’t get us wrong, emergency heat is extremely beneficial when it is needed. It’s simply not needed at the drop of a hat when you’re feeling a little bit colder than the other winter and fall nights. Enjoy your emergency heat; don’t abuse it and waste your money though!

Get Your Home Fall Ready!

Fall has to be one of our favorite seasons. The leaves are all starting to change color, the weather is getting a little chiller and soon all the fun of Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas will be arriving!

 

When those days have started to disappear, then it is time to think about how you can make sure that your home is ready for fall, and ultimately for winter too. But what are the things that you need to think about?

 

To help you make sure that your home is fall-ready, we have put together our top tips for the things that you need to look at and make sure are ready to go.

 

Have you air conditioning unit and heating unit serviced

 

Whilst you may not be using your air conditioning for a few months, chances are that you are going to need your heating. Early fall means that the weather is still relatively warm, so you won’t need to turn on your heating just yet. This means that it is the ideal time to get an expert in to check over your heating unit. After all, the last thing you are going to want is to find that it doesn’t work when you need it the most!

 

Check for any drafts

 

Another reason that you may find that you feel the chill during the winter is because your home is a little on the drafty side. It is a really good idea to try and locate and fix any drafts that you have. An easy way to do this is to go around all the windows and doors and feel the edges, if you are not sure what you are feeling for, then take a candle with you. If the flame flickers when placed near to a seal, then chances are that there is a draft there.

 

Whilst drafts are relatively easy to fix, you can also buy heavy curtains for those windows that are really letting the chill in.

 

Invest in a programmable thermostat

 

When it is colder outside, we are much more likely to use our heating. This means that our energy usage and bills is going to be much higher. If this is a worry to you, then one thing that you can do is to invest in a programmable thermostat. These allow you to set the temperature to different levels during different times of the day. You can lower it at night when you are safely tucked up in bed and lower or turn it off when you are going to be out of the house.

You may be surprised by just how much money these can save you.

 

Protect your air conditioning unit

 

During the winter your air conditioning unit isn’t going to be used, which means that you need to protect it. If it is outdoors then you may need to cover it, and if you have a detachable air conditioning unit that is placed in a window, then now is the time to remove it and store away for the winter.

 

Turn off your outdoor taps and store your hoses

 

Chances are that you are not going to need your hose or outdoor water supply during the winter. If this is true then you should make sure that you drain out your hoses and disconnect them from any outside water source. You should also make sure that you turn off any exterior faucets and store your hoses in a place where they won’t be at risk of freezing.

 

Give your garden a makeover

 

Whilst the weather is still warm enough to spend some time outdoors, it is a great idea to make sure that your garden is fall-ready. There are a variety of things that you can get done. Inspect all the trees to make sure that they are not damaged, trim the bushes, shrubs and flowers back and make sure that you rake up all the leaves that may be lying around and get them in the compost. You can also prepare your garden for spring by planting any bulbs so that they are ready to sprout when spring comes around.

 

You will also want to make sure that you bring in any flowerpots from outside too.

 

Don’t forget the shed

 

During the fall and winter your garden is going to need an entirely different set of equipment to the summer. So, if your shed is looking a little messy, then it is a really good idea to get out there and tidy it up. Move back the things that you are not going to need until next year and bring forward the tools that will get you through the colder months.

 

Close up the pool

 

If you are lucky enough to have a pool in your garden then it ensure that you have someone booked in to come and close up the pool for winter. Some pool owners will know how to do this for themselves, however if you are not sure, then it is a good idea to have a professional come to do it for you.

 

Get your summer equipment serviced

 

Whilst you are sorting out the shed and moving around the equipment, it may pay to organize someone come out and take a look at it all. This includes your lawnmower and trimmer. Both of which may need some work on them to ensure that they are ready to face the spring.

 

Give your gutters a clean

 

When the leaves start to fall off the trees there is one part of your house that is likely to feel the brunt of it, and that is your gutters. During the summer months your gutters usually stay relatively clear of debris, but as the leaves start to fall, chances are that they are going to end up in your gutters, clogging them up and making drainage all the trickier.

 

Take a look at your roof

 

The last thing that you are going to want is to find that your roof is leaking and broken when the weather turns. So, get up on your roof and make sure that everything is nice and clear, you will be really pleased that you made the effort to check when you are warm and cozy inside your home.

 

Make sure that your chimney is clear

 

During the fall and winter you are much more likely to turn on your heating and even light up the fire. This means that you need to make sure that your chimney is clear. Otherwise you could find that you have a problem when you need to use it if it happens to be blocked or clogged.

 

Drain your sprinkler system

 

Much like your outdoor tap, if you leave your sprinkler system out during the fall and winter, then it is a good idea to drain it. This makes sure that you don’t end up finding that it is frozen, or even worse, damaged when the spring and summer comes around.

 

Change the air filters in your heating system

 

Over time your air filters can become clogged and this can make your equipment less efficient. Not to mention damaged too. To make sure that your heating system is working the best that it can, it makes sense to ensure that you change your air filters as well as drain out all the pipes too.

 

Insulate your pipes

 

If you have any pipes that are exposed to the elements then it is a good idea to find out ways to insulate them. Exposed water pipes can freeze when the winter comes around and this can lead to them bursting. Not only are burst water pipes messy but they can be expensive to fix too. Also, imagine how you would feel if you had to do without hot water during the winter months. Not the nicest idea in the world!

 

 

 

As you can see, not only do you need to make sure that your wardrobe is ready for the fall, but your home is too. There are plenty of things to think about and make sure that you do, but once the colder weather hits, then you can be sure to feel grateful that you took the time out to do them all!

 

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