Texas is notorious for its long and hot summers. Many people get tired of the heat, and spend so much time wishing for the weather to cool down that they forget how extremely cold Texas winters can be. The coldest temperature on record for the DFW area is -8 degrees in 1899. While most winter nights don’t get nearly that cold, many people are still looking for the most cost effective way to keep their house warm when the temperatures drop.
What’s the Most Efficient Way to Heat a House?
There are many different methods to heating a Texas home. Options range from geothermal heating and natural gas heating, to electric heating and oil heating. Each comes with its own benefits and price tag. However, the primary source of heating efficiency comes from good insulation. Good quality insulation will keep the heat in your home from escaping in the winter, and will keep the heat from getting in during the summer. You may find yourself asking “How can I insulate my house for winter?” Every home is equipped with basic environmental insulation against the elements.
There’s more you can do for keeping a home warm during winter, though.
- Ensure the weather seal on your doors covers the entire doorway. If there is a gap, or if it is torn or crushed, you can replace it with a new weather seal, or with draft tape. The tape will stick to the inside of the door and block currents of cold air from getting in to your home between the door cracks.
- If you have a chimney, make sure it is closed, and not blocked or damaged. Only open the flue or damper when actually using the fireplace. If you’re unsure about the status of your fireplace, consider contacting a professional for a chimney inspection or chimney repair.
- Seal internal and external cracks in your home to keep any air from an escape point. The fewer spaces hot air can move through, the more likely it is to stay in your home.
Consider covering your air vents when not in use. Cold air can still move through your vents in the winter, and if you’re attempting to keep warm without running the home heater, this will help prevent the room from cooling off too quickly.
- Weather seal and insulate your windows. Cover them with magnetic seals, and ensure the windows create a seal when closed. If not, replace the weather stripping, or seal the open parts with caulk.
- Put rugs down on floors to insulate against cold air seeping in at the ground level.
After you’ve determined that your home is adequately weather proofed, it’s time to ask yourself “How warm should I keep my house in winter?” An average number of people find 75 degrees Fahrenheit to be their acceptable level of warm. This is less energy efficient than keeping the heating thermostat set lower and offsetting the cold temperatures yourself. If you find yourself wondering “Is it cheaper to keep heating on or turn it on and off?” then you should consider the potential costs associated with both options. If you have your heat on low, then your associated costs will be a smaller, more steady price to keep things heated. However, if you turn your heat off while you’re not home, then the average temperature will drop. Meaning your home heater will have to work extra hard to bring the internal temperature of your home up from lower, resulting in a larger, single cost. It’s up to the individual to determine which is the most cost effective manner of keeping their house warm. Which raises another the question “Does turning the heat down save money?” According to the United States Department of Energy, reducing the temperature of your thermostat by 10 to 15 degrees can save approximately five to 15 percent on your monthly energy bill.
Staying Warm in Winter Tips
Even if you’ve done everything you can think of to technically prepare your home for cold weather, there are always extra steps you can take to keep warm.
- Build a Fire If you have a fireplace, using it can help heat your home for the simple cost of a few pieces of firewood. Even if you have the thermostat down low, a fire is a good way to bring up the temperature several degrees.
- Wear Warm Clothes If the home heater is set to 68 degrees, but this isn’t warm enough for you, consider throwing on thick clothes. A sweater, a thick pair of woolen socks, or even just a thick pair of slippers can help make up the difference and make you much more comfortable.
- Use the Sun The biggest potential heater you can use is the sun. On days when it’s out, open the curtains for windows that face it. It will help heat up those rooms. Also consider using thermal curtains as additional window insulation.
- Use other Heat Sources During winter, a popular pastime is cooking or baking meals and snacks for days spent indoors. Once you’re finished baking, and after the oven is turned off, consider leaving the oven open to let the heat move through your house. Only do this if it is safe.
- Eat Warm Foods Soup and hot beverages are good for warming you up from the inside, out. Go the extra mile and heat up something to eat instead of just making yourself a sandwich.
If your heater breaks or isn’t functioning, don’t panic. There are plenty of heating repair professionals standing by to assess the problem and fix the issue, providing you with the heat you need to live through the bitter Texas winters. If you or someone you know in Fort Worth, TX is looking for home heater repair or replacement, have them contact Metro Air & Heat at (817) 945-3601.