Winter has arrived and it’s brought cold draughts and chilly temperatures. Heating your home comfortably and affordably during a Canadian winter can be tricky. You might find that some areas of your home are cozy while others still remain unpleasantly cold.
Even the most efficient heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems aren’t usually able to distribute heat evenly throughout a home. That’s because as heat rises, lower areas of a home will become cooler before the thermostat triggers the furnace to begin pumping out heat again. The effect is a mostly-warm home that is always undergoing temperature changes.
If you want to improve the comfort of your home without risking damage to your HVAC system, we have a few tricks you can try, and some you should avoid. Keep reading to find out how to increase the cozy factor without jacking up your furnace … and your bills.
Don’t close supply vents
It’s common for homeowners to think that closing the supply vents in warmer areas of the house will force the furnace to push heated air into other areas. Unfortunately, this is neither an effective way to heat your home evenly, nor is it good for your HVAC system.
Supply vents are connected to the ducts in your home. Closing these vents makes your HVAC system work harder and causes unnecessary wear and tear. It also has the effect of confusing your system because it’s unable to measure temperatures accurately. HVAC systems are built to reflect the square footage of your home and vents must remain open to enable the system to work optimally.
Do manage your cold air return
Cold air return vents differ from supply vents and are typically larger. You can identify them by feeling the area in front of them while your furnace is working. Unlike a supply vent, you won’t be able to feel warm air coming out of a cold air return.
In newer homes, cold air return vents are often placed at both floor and ceiling level. This allows you to control which air returns to your heating and cooling system. Since warm air rises, you can send cooler air back to your furnace by drawing air back through open floor-level vents while closing off higher ceiling-level ones.
If your home is older or doesn’t have multi-level cold air return vents, you can partially close your second floor cold air return vents while leaving them open in your basement and/or first floor. This will have a similar effect of drawing in more of the coolest air for reheating.
Look for a control lever on your cold air return vents or place a temporary magnetic cover over the ones you want to close. (You can help out your air conditioner in the summer months by reversing the ones you block.)
Put your ceiling fans to work
Ceiling fans aren’t just for summer. Most can have their rotation reversed, making them an effective way to redistribute heated air in the winter. Change ceiling fans to operate in a clockwise direction, then set them on the lowest setting to continually move hotter air down.
Improve your energy-efficiency
Another way to keep your home more evenly heated is by focusing on making energy-efficient improvements. This can include tasks like sealing cold air leaks or installing thermoregulating curtains. If your windows are older, replace them with new ones that effectively keep out winter weather.
Make sure your system is regularly maintained
Keeping your HVAC system properly maintained will ensure that your home continues to be heated effectively. This includes making necessary repairs, having your system routinely inspected and cleaned, ensuring you’re employing optimal settings and use of vents, and booking a pre-winter furnace check to avoid unexpected breakdowns during the colder months.
Don’t resort to closing off supply vents to make your home cozy. You’ll just end up with higher energy costs and increased wear. You’ll also risk damaging your HVAC system. Instead, we recommend using daylight savings time as a reminder to switch your cold air return management and change the direction of your ceiling fans. This will help your HVAC system keep your whole home warm and cozy all winter.
At Whyte Ridge, our team of skilled technicians will keep your home comfortable with our friendly and reliable services. Book your appointment to have your HVAC system maintained today.