Common Home Heating Mistakes

Written on: December 22, 2023

Don’t Risk Safety as You Try to Conserve Fuel

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There’s nothing wrong with wanting to save money on home heating, but please do it in a smart way and never take chances with your safety. With that in mind, here are some common mistakes that people make that you will want to avoid.

Space Heaters

It’s never a good idea to shut off your furnace or boiler (or turn their thermostat way down) and rely exclusively on electric space heaters to try to save on fuel. You’ll just run up your electric bill instead. You’ll also vastly increase your chance of frozen pipes.

Space heaters also pose safety risks. If you feel you must use them when it’s very cold outside, follow these tips.

Heating Vents

For people who rely on oil furnaces to stay warm, a common mistake is closing the heating vents in seldom-used rooms. The belief is that this will conserve heat and save money, but this is not a good idea.

This is because closing some vents on your home will disrupt normal air flow, causing an imbalance that will just make your furnace work harder. Closing vents can also raise the risk of frozen pipes, especially in rooms that tend to be on the cold side anyway.

It’s always better to keep the temperature at a comfortable level throughout your home and program it to energy-saving settings when the house is vacant or everyone is asleep.

Thermostat Settings: What’s Best for Winter?

You can easily save energy in the winter by setting the thermostat to 68°F while you’re awake and setting it about 8°F lower while you’re asleep or away from home. But you should not set your thermostat below 60°.

Moving your thermostat setting too low is another way to raise your risk of frozen pipes. Water pipes near outside walls or in unheated spaces are especially prone to freeze-ups. The risk increases if cracks in your foundation allow cold air to enter.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the lower the interior temperature, the slower the heat loss. So, the longer your house remains at the lower temperature, the more energy you save, because your house has lost less energy than it would have at the higher temperature.

The same concept applies to raising your thermostat setting in the summer — a higher temperature inside your home will slow heat gain into your house, saving you money on air conditioning costs.

The U.S. Energy Department concludes that you can save as much as 10% a year on home heating and cooling by simply adjusting your thermostat 7°-10°F for eight hours a day from its normal setting.

If your home heating system has not been keeping you warm enough, you may want to explore current heating oil equipment rebate opportunities. Afterward, reach out to your heating oil service provider for advice about a replacement home heating system.

Find out how you can lower your fuel costs with a new furnace or boiler installation.