How to Improve the Heating of Your Home How to Improve the Heating of Your Home

Heating a home can be an expensive proposition. Fortunately, several techniques are available to assist us in lowering our energy costs while improving our heating efficiency. The most obvious things to consider include insulation, landscaping, window upgrades, careful selection of appliances, and a properly sized and working heating system.

For safety reasons, any modifications or tune ups to your heating system should be done by a heating system professional. However, other modifications can easily and safely be done by homeowners including cleaning registers, replacing filters, insulating ducts and pipes, and installing programmable thermometers.

Cleaning registers and baseboards

Dirt, dust, grime, and bugs can all restrict the registers from working properly. Therefore, it is important that you vacuum the registers thoroughly. Additionally, if you have baseboard heaters, vacuum them completely as needed.

Replacing filters

Replacing the filters should be done on a monthly basis during the heating season. Make sure that you purchase the correct size for your heating system. In fact, many heating systems offer the choice between a reusable filter that lasts about a year or a throw away filter that lasts for a one time use only. The reusable filters require a thorough vacuuming or washing each month.

A dirty filter impedes the efficiency of your heating system by restricting air flow. In turn, it causes the fan to work harder and the furnace to work longer. This leads to a higher use of energy and therefore, a higher cost for energy. Maintaining clean filters in your heating system will provide a more efficient service.

Insulating ducts and pipes

Insulating pipes and ducts is actually a simple task, one that can save on heating costs. It is important to purchase and use the proper insulating material for the job to ensure both the safety of the home and the benefit of the insulation. Purchase high temperature grade insulation for steam pipes. A fiberglass wrap is effective for this task. Hot water and hydronic systems can typically use foam insulation as long as it is rated for at least 220 degrees.

Additionally, check for leaks in the ducts. Seal off any leaks using caulking, mastic, or duct tape properly prior to insulating the ducts. This step will improve the efficiency of your heating system in direct relation to the number of leaks that you have corrected.

Installing programmable thermometers

If you already practice a little conservation by turning down your thermostat at night, then you can benefit by the installation of a programmable thermostat. A programmable thermostat can automatically lower the temperature setting for the heating system while you sleep or during the day if no one is home. Moreover, it can automatically raise the temperature setting for the heating system right before you arise from your nightly slumber. This is one of the most cost effective strategies that a homeowner can employ to save on home heating energy costs.


If your heating system includes radiators, then you can benefit from a little reflection. Specifically, place a foil reflector behind the radiator to reflect heat into the room. Foil faced insulation that is rigid, radiant barrier material, or homemade aluminum foil cardboard sheets will provide the necessary surface to reflect the heat.

It is also necessary to release or bleed out any air that is trapped in your radiator. Simply purchase a radiator key if you do not already have one. Hold a pan, cup, or other container underneath the valve while you open it slowly to release the air. Once only water issues from the valve, close it. Trapped air is often at the root of clanging noises issuing from radiators.

Take care of your heating system properly and it will take care of you. A few simple preventative steps can produce an energy efficient heating system and a warm and toasty home.

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