Blocked ducts, from years of dirt and debris, can prevent
the warm air from getting into the home.
This restricted air flow means that your heating system has to work even
harder, and often cannot maintain the set temperature when the weather outside
is especially cold.
The recent frigid temperatures had really put a Hudson homeowner’s heating system to the test. Despite his thermostat setting, the home was 2-3 degrees cooler than the set temperature, yet the unit seemed to be working overtime just to maintain this deficit.
Can Prevent Blocked Ducts
Over the years, dust and dirt can collect in your home’s
ductwork. Without regular maintenance to
clean these ducts, this can restrict the air flow over time significantly
enough to affect the performance of your home’s heating system.
If you suspect that blocked ducts may be the problem,
perform a visual check to ensure that there is nothing obvious blocking the air
flow. You can remove anything that is
immediately at the vent, but hire a professional for cleaning any further in
It May Be Time to
Replace Your Unit
On other occasions the heating system may simply not be able
to keep up. This can be the case if it
is an older unit in need of replacement.
Using more energy to heat the home is a good sign that something is
wrong and you should schedule a professional to take a look at your system.
In the case of the Hudson homeowner, a technician was able
to perform some routine maintenance on the unit, cleaning the blocked ducts and
eliminating that restricted airflow. Scheduling
regular maintenance on the system will prevent this in the future and this
homeowner can now enjoy a warm home all winter long.
Today’s programmable thermostats have a setting that allows
you to manually set the temperature up or down if you find that the reading is
wrong. Manual thermostats do not have
this option and often need to be replaced when their reading is inaccurate.
A family in Litchfield noticed that their home seemed colder
than unusual, despite the reading on the thermostat. It isn’t uncommon for a programmable
thermostat to need to be recalibrated over time to ensure the most accurate
Checking the Accuracy
of Your Thermostat
There are many factors that can cause your thermostat to
need to be recalibrated, from accidental bumping to dirt entering the
thermostat. Fortunately, with today’s
programmable thermostats this is a relatively easy fix. The first step is to check the thermostat’s
accuracy. You can do this by taping a
glass thermometer to the wall beside the thermostat. Wait fifteen minutes and then compare the
thermometer with your thermostat. If the
reading is off, your thermostat will need to be adjusted.
Most programmable thermostats allow you to make these
adjustments yourself, using the settings within the thermostat. You should refer to the manual for
instructions on how to do this for your brand of thermostat.
Cleaning the Inside
of the Thermostat
Dirt inside the thermostat can be a big factor for this
inaccurate reading. You can clean the
inside of the thermostat by removing the cover and gently cleaning the inside
with a soft, dry brush or cloth.
Removing any dirt inside the thermostat may do the trick, so you should
recheck the accuracy using your thermometer after cleaning.
The family in Litchfield was able to manually recalibrate
their thermostat and they are now once again comfortable at home.
Nashua Homeowner Discovers
A multi-zone heating and cooling system can solve the problem of uneven temperatures throughout the home, eliminating hot and cold pockets in rooms. You can also adjust different the temperature to various areas. With a single-zone system, the entire home will be set to one temperature.
Amherst Family Seeks Guidance
On average a heating system should last 15-20 years and an air conditioning unit 12-15. Frequent repairs on an aging system may indicate that it is time to look for a replacement. You may also notice that the unit is less efficient, working harder to heat or cool the home.
Bedford Homeowner in Baffled
Ceiling fans are effective in the winter to distribute the air, and subsequent heat, in a room. The ceiling fan’s blades need to change direction, moving clockwise. Many fans have a switch that allows you to make this change. Traveling clockwise, the blades push the warmer air in the room down, making it feel more comfortable even at a lower thermostat setting.
A Bedford homeowner was looking for more cost-effective ways to heat his home this winter. When we suggested he use his living room’s ceiling fan he was blown away.
Tyngsboro, MA Allergy Sufferer Wonders
With less time spent outside during the winter months, indoor allergens including pet dander, dust mites and mold can exacerbate allergies. This can lead to sneezing, wheezing, itchy and watery eyes and cold-like symptoms. A home’s heating system can further worsen these symptoms, drying out the air.
When traveling for vacation during the winter you should never set your thermostat lower than 50 degrees. This will keep appliances running and pipes from freezing if the temperature gets too low in the home. If you have pipes on the exterior walls, you should opt for a warmer 50 – 60 degrees minimum.
To prevent your home’s pipes from freezing and cracking during the winter, drain excess water from outdoor faucets and sprinkler systems. You should also disconnect any outdoor hoses, covering the faucets with insulators. Pipes traveling through unheated areas such as the garage, basement or attic should be insulated. To avoid ice dams, clean out gutters and keep your roof clear with a roof rake, removing the excess weight that accumulating snow can cause.
To insulate your home’s hot water pipes, you can find neoprene and polyethylene sleeves at most home improvement stores. Use an acrylic black tape, tie wire or zip tie to secure the insulation sleeve in place around the pipe. For gas water heaters, standard insulation is flammable and should be kept at least six feet from the flue, instead using wire to secure the insulation in place.
For most people a comfortable humidity level at home is 40%. In the winter your home’s humidity level can drop by as much as 10%. This low humidity results in static electricity in the air, dry skin, scratchy throats and noses and increased susceptibility to colds and viruses.