Will your house be warm enough this winter? With shifts in climate making winter weather harder to predict, it's important to prepare your home for extreme winter temperatures as soon as possible. Here are a few key ways to make your home comfortable and energy efficient.
Consider reducing energy bills substantially by supplementing whole house heat in the zones of your house used most. For example, why heat the unoccupied foyer to the same degree as the living room where your family spends their time? Focusing your energy use where it is most needed will allow you to lower the thermostat for the central furnace.
Known as "zone heating," this practice saves dollars and energy.
A wood stove is a great choice for a supplemental heating product that focuses on specific rooms of the home. Not only does a wood stove create a cozy atmosphere, but new models are redefining this classic technology to be greener, safer and easier to operate.
For example, the Quadra-Fire Adventure II, an EPA-certified appliance, features Smart Burn Technology, which delivers controllable, efficient heat. It's the only stove equipped with a programmable wall thermostat that maintains the temperature of your room, helping reduce heating bills up to 50 percent. It also alerts you when it's time to add more wood, taking guesswork out of the equation.
Another option that can help you reduce your heating bill is the Encore FlexBurn from Vermont Castings, which can be burned with a catalyst to increase efficiency by more than 15 percent on the longest burn settings and lowering emissions to ensure you get the most out of each load of wood.
For those who want to green their home, wood is a good fuel choice, as it's a renewable energy source that is carbon neutral.
Your heating system, supplemental heating products and insulation all require regular maintenance to operate at their highest capacity and keep your home warm at a reasonable cost. Certain tasks you can perform yourself include changing HVAC filters, sealing drafts and ductwork, and weatherstripping windows and doors. You may want to have your central furnace serviced professionally, however. A handy checklist is available at energystar.gov.
For a comfortable and affordable winter, take smart steps to warm your home wisely.