As many individuals know, one of the most problematic (both immediately and with regard to the future) trends pertaining to the health and well being of the Earth is energy usage. The overuse, improper use, and inattentive use of energy result in many homes and families—some of which are, generally speaking, environmentally conscientious—leaving a greater footprint on the planet than they otherwise would, and harming the planet’s natural resources and condition.
For as undesirable as the byproducts of energy overuse are (with an emphasis on heating energy used during the winter months), there are quite a few ways for any interested person or family to dramatically lower their heating consumption, aiding and improving the health of Earth in the process.
Let’s take a look at some simple, straightforward tips that can help anyone to use less heating energy, stay just as warm and comfortable as before (or become warmer and more comfortable), and protect the integrity and state of the Earth for many years to come.
Purchase a New Furnace
Between installation costs and the price of the unit itself, a new furnace is an expensive upfront investment. However, what quite a few individuals don’t know is that new furnaces are, thanks to recent technological innovations, exponentially more efficient than older models. These furnaces provide more heat and use less energy—a point which aids the Earth and the owner, who will pay less in monthly energy costs.
It should also be specified that the winter months are particularly hard on old furnaces, which will struggle to compete with frigid outdoor temperatures and convert cool air to warm. The “push” required to accomplish this air-temperature conversion uses a staggering amount of energy.
Invest in a Space Heater
Space heaters are widely available, affordable, convenient, and reliable appliances that can help reduce the amount of heating energy an individual (or a group of individuals) uses. For homes occupied by one or two individuals, there’s no sense in using a central heating system to heat each and every room when they cannot possibly be occupied simultaneously; setting a space heater or two up in the most commonly used rooms should provide adequate heat, and will take a great deal of pressure off the furnace (saving energy in the process).
Families will have a trickier time making a total jump to space heating, given that multiple persons are most often times in different areas, but by installing two to three space heaters, the energy usage of the furnace can be reduced (and less overall energy can be used). Moreover, space heaters don’t pull external air out to put warm air in a structure; they will be able to more quickly heat a home when outdoor temperatures are below freezing.
Humidify, Humidify, Humidify!
One of the most common reasons homes feel cold in the winter is because humidity is lower; this point doesn’t relate directly to temperature. Cool winter air carries less moisture than warm air, and as a result of both outdoor and indoor temperatures, humidity is much lower between the months of November and March (give or take, depending on one’s specific location). Even at seventy degrees inside a home, humidity can be low, and the air, which is assumed to be warm, can “sting,” or be less comfortable to breathe than expected. In response to this, most individuals turn the heat up, (which obviously uses more energy), but this course of action has a minimal impact on humidity.
The most effective solution to low humidity is in fact a humidifier. Humidifiers are affordable, portable, and reliable. All one has to do to utilize the appliance is purchase it, fill it with distilled water (which costs the same as other types of water and is available in the same stores; it’s devoid of nutrients, which prevents the growth of bacteria), set the desired humidity level (forty to fifty percent is the recommended level for homes), plug it in, and sit back while the air becomes more accommodating.
An abundance of individuals and families find that, after installing a humidifier, their home feels too warm at its present temperature. The thermostat, furnace, and space heaters can be given something of a break, and corresponding energy usage will drop dramatically in response.
It doesn’t matter if ten space heaters are running and a central heating system is blasting away; when it’s especially cold outside, structures that are poorly insulted will lose heat quicker than it can be produced. By investing in improved insulation, individuals and families can reduce the amount of energy they use to experience warmth, while also staying warmer and being more comfortable than they previously were.
Old windows, in many instances, let a sizable amount of air (and heat) out, and a window-installation professional can provide an analysis of how much energy is being lost as a result of less-than-stellar windows, as well as how much energy (and money) can be saved by installing new windows. In terms of actual insulation, an insulation expert—a drywall worker, preferably—can also analyze and recommend improvements to any structure. Moreover, the majority of these pros are willing to do so for the ultra-affordable cost of free.
As was said initially, reducing heating energy usage isn’t time consuming, difficult, or expensive, but the results of doing so are numerous and noteworthy. Anyone who’s open to saving money and the Earth while staying warmer and being more comfortable shouldn’t hesitate to replace their old furnace, invest in space heaters, set-up a humidifier, and/or improve their home’s insulation.
As is the case with many things in life, a little bit of effort will go a very, very long way here. By using less heating energy, the present will become more comfortable, and the future will be rendered safer and more excellent for all.
Thanks for reading, and here’s to saving cash—and the world—by using less heating energy!