…and seven more winter actions that help our air quality
By Doug Norsby, Air Quality Planner III
Even though it seems to have taken longer this year, cold weather is moving in and evenings at home are a bit more brisk. It can be tempting to bump the thermostat up a few degrees, but doing so increases energy use, costs money and adds more emissions to our air. Before turning the dial, consider these ideas to make sure your home is winter-ready.
- It might sound counterintuitive, but closing off or shutting vents in unused rooms might not be right for your house. Unless your system is specifically set up to handle the pressure changecaused by closing off a room, your ductwork will pull cold air from around windows and attic spaces to balance the system and it will be more difficult for the furnace to heat the air. It could be safer, more efficient and more comfortable for you to leave unused rooms open.
- Drafty doors can benefit from a few easy fixes. Always close a door tightly — even between short trips to-and-from the car to the house. For especially drafty doors, buy or construct your own draft stopper to prevent that toe-chilling air flow.
- Lower the thermostat overnight while everyone is sleeping. For periods of more than eight hours, each degree of difference can save 1 percent on your heating bill.
- Set your ceiling fan to spin clockwise on a low setting. The fan will create a gentle updraft, pushing the warm air back down from the ceiling.
- Let sunlight shine through south-facing windows during the day to naturally warm your home, and use heavy curtains over windows at night to slow the heat leak back out. You can also use heat-shrinking plastic film to seal drafts.
- If you don’t use your fireplace, consider installing a chimney balloon to block drafts.
And of course, make your mother proud by putting on a sweater and some cozy socks when you’re feeling chilled. Drink a warm beverage or snuggle up with your favorite pet. You can stay toasty warm without touching that thermostat.