Home with Dean Sharp

Home with Dean Sharp

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How to Heat a Home

House shaped radiator with slippers

Photo: Getty Images

Now that the temperatures are dropping, it’s time to turn off the air conditioner and settle in for some chillier temps. You may fire up the heater and find some issues. Here are some of the most common.

1. Heat Cycling

If your heater is turning on and off far more often than usual, this is called heat cycling. Heat cycling lowers system efficiency and raises your utility bills, so even if you think you’re getting enough heat, you’ll want to get your heater fixed as soon as you can. Heat cycling can indicate an excessively dirty blower or FILTER. Replace your filters! It’s your one job! It could also be a malfunctioning thermostat.

2. Carbon Monoxide Leaks

Whether your heater is brand new or a decade old, install a carbon monoxide detector in your home. Carbon monoxide can easily go undetected if you solely rely on human senses. It’s tasteless, colorless, and odorless, and it can be deadly in the right amounts. Carbon monoxide leaks are most common in furnaces that are 10 to 15 years old.

3. Uneven Heating

If you have a forced air system then your heating travels through the same ducts as your AC. If your AC cools unevenly then likely your heater heats unevenly. As with the AC, if the house heats unevenly DON’T shut down registers or close off rooms. Instead, get you the heart of the problem … drafty windows, bad weatherstripping, or poor insulation.

4. Unusual Noises

You shouldn’t be alarmed when you hear pops or a humming sound from a furnace. However, you should never ignore the following noises:

Loud bang or pop when starting up—The furnace’s burners may be dirty enough to delay ignition. This causes gas buildup and creates a tiny explosion. Gas explosions are bad. Enough said.

Scraping—Scraping almost always means some metallic parts of your furnace have come loose and are now rubbing against other parts. 

Squealing—Either a worn-out blower belt or bad bearing.

3. Dry Air

Here’s the number one way to can lower your heating bill and stay more comfortable and healthier during the winter … humidify!

Dry air can be super uncomfortable, especially if your skin, nose and throat are sensitive or already unusually dry.

• Fact: viruses and bacteria thrive in extremely dry air (less than 40% relative humidity). It’s the primary reason winter is cold and flu season.

• Fact: Low humidity levels can also dry out and crack woodwork and wood furniture.

• Fact: Moist air prevents your body from losing heat. Therefore, in an ideal humidity (40-60% relative humidity) you’ll be more comfortable at lower air temperatures so your heater won’t have to work as hard.

Better than a furnace … Heat Pumps! The ABSOLUTE BEST and HEALTHIEST way to heat a home … Radiant Floors!

1. Warm Board - structural radiant sheathing

2. Electric or Hydronic Baseboards

3. Electric radiant pads

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