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Saving money with portable heaters is something anyone can do. Larger and older homes or apartments, and those with already relatively inefficient or energy-wasting heating systems will see the biggest savings, but anyone can try.

Imagine shutting down an over-sized or too big furnace. A unit that’s no longer burning any fuel, and no longer heating an otherwise unused or under-used space, might seem to be a big money saver. The problem is, it’s not always totally possible.

Homeowners can keep the furnace thermostat set to a minimum temperature and, using portable heaters only in the occupied rooms, keep energy costs to a minimum. Almost any home with unused or little-used rooms could be better served with a space heater or some kind of radiant heating.

portable heatersUsing Portable Heaters to Save on Energy Costs

The most important thing to keep in mind is that for a space heater to really save you money it needs to have a good thermostat. Just like with a furnace, portable heaters save you more when they switch themselves off. And likewise, overheating rooms will simply transfer the cost from the furnace to the heater. You’re still going to pay for it.

How much anyone can save by running a space heater really depends on the room size relative to the rest of the house. And like with an entire house, then it comes down to insulation, curtains and weatherstripping. The difference is, now you’ve also got to consider the interior, probably uninsulated, walls and one or more interior doors. How often your portable heaters need to run to keep that space comfortable depends on all of these things.

Remember, on average, electricity is about twice as expensive as natural gas. So for the same price, you can only heat about half the same area. Cold drafts from underneath inside doors will quickly cut into the savings by making your space heater run that much longer.

Heating an entire house with only electricity is normally out of the question, but we do frequently work with customers who only plan on occupying a limited number of rooms. In some cases, we’ve even installed much more cost-effective natural gas heaters or similar appliances. These need to be professionally vented and installed and the cost doesn’t always agree with homeowners already looking to save, but the cost of running them can be surprisingly low.

Please remember, also, any space heater can present a fire hazard, along with other hazards not normally associated with a central heating system. Read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and call us if you need any questions answered.

Thermostat Settings

Lots of customers we work with would just love to have thermostat settings that stay “perfect” or “totally efficient.” But often enough it’s not your thermostat or control system settings – it’s your house!

The wide variation in houses, insulation levels, and heating systems mean that you can’t really guesstimate energy costs based just on thermostat settings. You might save 1% on energy cost for every degree that you set your thermostat down, but then again, you might not. For example, setting the thermostat down 10 degrees for 8 hours when the house is empty will save some homeowners 10% off the next energy bill – but it simply won’t save all homes that same amount.

thermostat settings for winterBefore we get to talking about ideal thermostat settings for winter, it’s important to mention that only if your home is really properly insulated can you really control what’s going on with just your thermostat settings. All the outside walls and attic spaces need to have good layers of insulation installed. Windows and doors need to have good weatherstripping and sweeps at the bottom. Window joints can be caulked or re-caulked in a good weekend, and it’s a good project for the kids if they’re not too young.

Also, consider your window coverings and how much light is getting in during the day, and how much cold is seeping in at night. A set of heavy drapes can also give you better control of indoor heat without even touching the thermostat settings.

Thermostat Settings for Winter

Modern, programmable controls for your furnace can really take all the magic out of finding the perfect thermostat settings for winter. Just like a fussy old man, a programmable thermostat will set the temperature up when you’re getting ready for bed, and down when the thermostat is confident you’re sleeping. The old man will get up extra early to warm up the house before you get up. Your programmable thermostat will even shut your furnace almost completely down during the day when you’re off to work, and the kids are off to school.

Optimal thermostat settings for winter depend on your preferences, the insulation level, age and size of your home and your willingness to automate some of the heating. One of the most wasteful things you can do is to set your thermostat too high in order to warm the house faster. You will spend a lot more on energy costs if you do that too often. Rather, consider these tips:

During the day, if you’ll be home, 68°F is optimal. Families with smaller kids often want to set it higher but 70°F – 72°F is the recommended max (even for most thermostats).

At night, many homeowners will drop it down to 62°F or a bit lower at night for sleeping. But you’ll want to insure that it isn’t turned up much higher than 68°F on extra cold mornings.

If you won’t be home, drop it down to 58°F. But be prepared for a cold home when you get back. You shouldn’t have to blast the furnace because you likely won’t get it warmer faster

Digital thermostats are your best bet, they come with preset temperature and time settings that will work with most homes and lifestyles. Just use the thermostat’s factory settings and you’re all set to stay warm throughout the day and night while saving money!

Thick blankets and warm clothes are another big help. Adjusting your winter thermostat settings is a lot less urgent when you’re wearing a wooly sweater. So bundle up, enjoy a nice warm blanket and get the warm good nights sleep you deserve! If you have any questions about thermostat settings for winter, please call us at 646-783-2475.

24 Hour Heating Repair Does Your Repair Company Offer It?

24 hour heating repair24 hour heating repair comes up at least once in everybody’s lifetime. People’s lives can depend on safe, effective heating and sometimes – with frail, elderly or extra young people – a simple cold snap can have devastating consequences. During the coldest months of the year, that can be a life-saver.

Whether you’re a homeowner, renter, landlord or anyone responsible for building maintenance, you don’t need that hanging on your conscience. Burst or frozen waterlines can cost thousands of dollars in damages, always just at the wrong time. There is plenty of incentive to get to know the boiler repair and furnace repair companies that provide 24 hour heating repair, no matter where you are.

24 hour heating repair is often provided as an extra, premium service, and many heating repair companies will charge you top dollar. Of course, regular annual heating maintenance and heating inspections are a better, cheaper alternative.

During a regular maintenance visit ask your technician if they offer 24 hour heating repair service in your area. You should ask about the heating repair companies policy, prices and the quality of the service they can deliver.

Giving a heating repair company an inside look at your furnace is a very good thing to do, but only if they’ll be prepared later with enough trucks and personnel to meet the highest demand in the coldest part of winter – and around the clock.

Remember, not every heating repair company can maintain a fleet of stocked radio dispatched vehicles that are ready for every kind of heating repair job that comes up. The dead of winter is not when you want to be waiting for parts. Service vehicles need to carry belts, filters and a variety of other parts for the many models of heaters and furnaces that exist.

Smaller shops will also charge a premium for after 24 hour heating repair. Larger shops will likely offer a lower price. No matter who you’re dealing with, check on the regular prices and if 24 hour heating repair prices and get them in writing when you can.

Heating repair companies are always going to do a better job in the off hours if they know the make and model of your furnace or boiler before they get there. In emergency situations it always helps to be prepared, or at least, as prepared as possible. Our own 24 hour heating repair team is fully prepared for any boiler repair or furnace repair emergency that comes up – should it come up – in the dead of winter, and year round.

Residential Heating Repair For the Do-It -Yourselfer

Residential heating repair is best done by a professional however, there are some tasks a do-it-yourselfer might want to handle. Because the safety and comfort of your family is so important, knowing and working with a trusted residential heating repair company is going to be paramount.

Familiarizing yourself with the basic functions of your furnace and taking care of basic heating maintenance will help prepare you to notify the heating repair technician when the time arises.

residential heating repair

Check that your furnace is cycling through start-up to shut-down using only your thermostat as a control. Measure the temperature of the rooms, this should match the upper end of your thermostat range, and the temperature of the return air near the cold air register or grate. This is often placed in a hallway and is usually larger than the vents where the heat comes out. The temperature in this area of your house should be nearer to the lower setting on the thermostat.

Older thermostats with liquid mercury switches may need to be cleaned and leveled, but in most cases, we recommend replacing them with a modern digital thermostat.

A residential heating repair technician will inspect visible wiring and all electrical connections. Prior to the visit you should also inspect them for signs of burning, any unraveling tape, loose wires, or missing covers.  While your at it, check the condition of the connection pipes and chimney for signs of rust or gaps. You should also check that the technician will have easy access to all of these areas as they are sometimes used for storage or simple accumulations of debris.

Now we get to the important questions and answers that only an experienced residential heating repair technician can provide.

It’s important to review these because you’ll want to get the most out of the visit, whether it’s for heating repair, a heating inspection, or something more involved, like a new furnace installation.

You’ll want to ask about how energy efficient your existing model of furnace is, and how that compares with the latest heating units on the market today. Be sure to ask how much you might save in gas, oil or electric bills. Your technician should be able to give you a good idea.

During the visit you should learn  a lot about the particulars of your own furnace but be sure to inquire about the models and manufacturers recommended by the technician and ask what their experience is with them.

Finally, you should ask the heating repair company how long they’ve been in business and if they provide 24 hour heating repair. Do they offer to keep a record of your furnace or heating system on file? In a real emergency situation, it helps to know the people you’re expecting to actually show up!

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