GETTING THE MOST FROM YOUR HEATING
Let the Sunshine In
On sunny days in winter, open up the curtains, blinds etc. and let the sun help to heat your home. Always close them again at sunset to retain heat.
Use the Thermostat
Many heaters have in-built thermostats but, generally speaking, an independent thermostat mounted on the wall is more efficient.
Ideally, the thermostat should be positioned on the same wall
as the heater, about 1.5m above the floor. Place it where it will
not be influenced directly by hot air from the heater, by sunlight
or by draughts.
Setting the thermostat at an appropriate level,
such as 19-21C during the day and 15-18C at night, will
save a considerable amount of energy. Automatic thermostat
controls are more energy efficient than manual controls.
Make sure the thermostat is registering the temperature accurately. Check it by taping a thermometer (with a small pad behind it) to the wall next to the thermostat. If, after 15 minutes, the two registers vary, your thermostat may need to be adjusted by a technician.
Distribute Heat More Efficiently
Temperatures in a heated room may vary by up to 10C. The warmest air is usually near the ceiling, and the coldest is near the floor. This can be uncomfortable as your feet are very sensitive to temperature.
You can reduce temperature variations by:
- Lowering the height of the ceiling, or using a ceiling (sweep) fan to push . the warm air downwards;
- Selecting a heater with its hot air outlet near floor level;
- Laying thick underfelt and carpet on the floor;
- In homes with very high ceilings or two storey homes installing a vertical duct between the floor and the ceiling with a fan, which shifts the warm air from ceiling to floor.
Inspect and Maintain Equipment Regularly
Keep reflectors on electric radiators bright and shiny and grilles free from fluff and dust. Never try to clean them when they are switched on. Check the cords on portable heaters, at both ends, frequently. Faulty or worn cords should be replaced.
On reverse cycle air-conditioners, inspect filters or coils regularly and clean or change them when they are dirty. For all heaters ensure that air intakes are never blocked.
It usually pays to have gas heaters, oil heaters or furnaces serviced regularly.
With gas heaters, ensure that the following are attended to by a technician:
- That the temperature levels at ignition are properly set and the flame . consistent;
- That draughts are fully excluded;
- That there are no obstructions preventing the pilot light from working . efficiently.
With oil burners:
- Lubrication of the fan motor,
- Cleaning the air blower, the flue and the flue switch;
- Checking for air leaks from the casing of ducts and sealing them.
For houses with ducted systems
the zoning of a house conditioned by a ducted system can reduce energy costs to a half or a third.
- Arrange your furniture with your heating system in mind.
Do not restrict the flow of air.
- Shut off registers in rooms that are not being used.
- Clean the filter in the return air grille at frequent intervals.
- Dirty filters cut down air flow and reduce efficiency.